Zipcars coming to Shorewood

May 21, 2014

Shorewood — Zipcars will soon be coming to Shorewood, offering another transportation alternative to local residents.

Zipcar, a car-sharing program, began in Boston in 1999 as an affordable transportation alternative to owning a car. Since arriving in Milwaukee in 2007, the company has expanded from two locations at University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee and Marquette University to 35 locations around the city. When the service began to expand, Shorewood residents asked village officials to bring the service closer to home.

Shorewood officials approached Zipcar about expanding northward, making the village the first suburban community in Milwaukee to offer the rideshare service.

Zipcar agreed to offer Zipcars in the municipal parking lots at 3501 Oakland Avenue and 4430 Oakland Avenue. The Shorewood Village Board voted unanimously Monday, May 19, to provide Zipcar with dedicated parking spaces in the two municipal lots as part of a one-year trial program.

The lot at 3501 Oakland Ave. is 40 to 50 percent occupied during the day, and the lot at 4430 Oakland Ave. is 70 to 80 percent occupied during the day and 100 percent occupied at night. To accommodate the Zipcars, the village would have to decrease the number of monthly overnight parking permits by two.

Trustee Jeff Hannewall argued that, as a for-profit business, Zipcar should have to pay for the same parking permits as a resident. Trustee Tammy Bockhorst disagreed, arguing that having a shared vehicle in the area might reduce the parking congestion. Zipcar has provided statistics that each Zipcar takes 15 to 20 personally-owned vehicles off the road, with 40 percent of members selling their car or choosing not to buy a car.

With a membership cost of $6 per month or $60 per year, Zipcar charges an hourly usage fee ranging from $9.75 to $11.25. Gas is included in the membership fee.

The developers of the new Metro Market have also expressed an interest in designating four Zipcar spots in that parking lot, Bockhorst said.

Shorewood is also applying for federal funds to join Milwaukee's BikeShare program, which would bring 300 bikes and 30 bike stations to Milwaukee this year. The program would like to offer nine Shorewood bike stations, which would cost $500,000, but the federal grant would cover 80 percent of those costs. BikeShare charges users $5 to rent a bike for a half hour, or $65 for an annual membership with slightly longer checkout times.

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