Car sharing coming to La Jolla

Jacques Chirazi from San Diego’s Economic Growth Services Department makes a presentation to the La Jolla Traffic and Transportation committee.
Jacques Chirazi from San Diego’s Economic Growth Services Department makes a presentation to the La Jolla Traffic and Transportation committee.

By Ashley Mackin

Would you like an electric car- sharing program similar to one used in San Diego’s downtown and uptown areas to come to La Jolla? The city wants to know, so it sent Jacques Chirazi from its Economic Growth Services department to the La Jolla Traffic and Transportation (T&T) advisory group March 27 to gather feedback.

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Jacques Chirazi from San Diego’s Economic Growth Services Department makes a presentation to the La Jolla Traffic and Transportation committee.

Chirazi said the car-sharing program would ideally go citywide by the end of 2014, and the City Council and the mayor’s office are on a feedback-finding mission before drafting an ordinance that would allow for citywide car sharing.

“We want to gather thoughts and comments and make sure we have a sense of what you are thinking. Or if there are concerns, we can take those concerns and integrate them into the (citywide) plan,” Chirazi said.

The City of San Diego currently uses Car2Go as a pilot program for car sharing. If the city does not expand its partnership with Car2Go, they will utilize another similar car-sharing vendor to make the program citywide.

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Parts of San Diego use the Car2Go car-sharing program and there are plans to take car sharing citywide.

Car2Go uses two-person electric vehicles that are available to rent by the minute, the hour or the day. Fees are 41 cents per minute, $14.99 an hour or $84.99 a day. There is a one-time $35 sign-up fee and no annual dues.

In a hypothetical situation, Chirazi explained one could start the rental by picking up a car in La Jolla, drive it downtown — attend a show, go dancing, have dinner or go shopping — and end the rental when they get there. That way, leasees would only be charged for the drive time. When they are done, they find another car, start another rental and drive home.

To find and access a car, users can download an app that shows the nearest one available. They unlock it with their membership card, which contains a chip that releases the car and starts the rental. A green flashing light indicates the car is available to rent. A red light indicates the car is parked, but the rental has not ended.

To encourage use, there are designated car-sharing spaces in downtown, a possibility with the La Jolla expansion. Further, two small electric cars fit in one standard parking space. Chirazi said they would look into additional incentives, such as not charging users to park at city meters or allowing users to park in limited parking zones (such as two-hour) for longer than the posted time.

Chirazi will attend the La Jolla Community Planning Association meeting (6 p.m. May 1 at La Jolla Rec Center, 615 Prospect St.) and La Jolla Coastal Access and Parking Board meeting (5 p.m. May 6 at the La Jolla Rec Center, 615 Prospect St.) to further explain the program and answer questions.

He can be reached at (619) 236-6326 or e-mail jchirazi@sandiego.gov

In other Traffic and Transportation news

■ Valet for La Plaza La Jolla: The T&T board voted to approve the installation of a passenger-loading zone on the 7800 block of Girard Avenue in front of the shopping complex La Plaza La Jolla, set to open in June. The board granted four spaces to be used for valet parking between the hours of 11 a.m. to 2 a.m., and the applicants have the option of returning to the board should they determine they need more spaces.

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