Blogging Bayport Alameda

March 30, 2015

Drive my car2go

Filed under: Alameda, City Council, Transportation — Lauren Do @ 6:00 am

Is it just me or does it feel like there has been MORE City Council meetings than ever before? Maybe it just feels like it, I should go back and check, but I’ll just go with the old Alameda standard of if something feels like it’s true than it must be.

Wednesday night there is yet another City Council meeting. This is not your regularly scheduled meeting but rather a meeting that is a continuation of a meeting from a few weeks ago because the Density Bonus discussion went super long and if the City Council went over 11:00 p.m. at another meeting then they would have to add more meeting for the rest of the year. So, they paused that meeting and scheduled it to continue tomorrow, which seems like an incredible shady thing to do and not at all in the spirit of open government, but apparently is technically legal.

As mentioned that last time that this topic was agendized and I wrote about it, there’s a whole process that staff is recommending that will cost somewhere in the ball park of $200K – $400K and the whole process will take more than a year.

But since we’re on the subject of transportation around Alameda, something interesting was presented at that last Transportation Commission — other than the fact that the TC totally flubbed the Clement Street plan — was a proposal for a point to point car share service that is not City Car Share.

So this car share service, Car2Go, is attempting to launch in the East Bay as a whole and separates itself from the City Car Share model because it’s point to point.  Meaning you don’t have to return it to the dedicated spot that you picked the car up from or to a designated City Car Share spot in general.  The way that it would work in Alameda would be you can pick one up wherever you can find one and park it in any non-metered spot when you are finished with your reservation.

Car services like this, if it works properly, will be good for households that may not want to have a second car (or a car at all) but one access to one for emergency purposes.  Since the fleet appears to be all electric Smart Cars, the parking impact will be minimal — it’s super simple to park a Smart Car — and really is meant for short trips.  You may be asking why this model only uses Smart Cars?  Well, it appears the company is owned by the Daimler corporation, so, there you go.


  1. I don’t think its all electric. I think they have some electric where there is infrastructure.

    Comment by BMac — March 30, 2015 @ 7:29 am

  2. Hmmm, this is interesting. Sort of like U-haul. How far can you take it? Could a college student drive it to Chico for school? And what if it’s parked on a Monday in a legal non metered spot, but on Tuesday the street sweeper comes through? Who’s responsible?

    Comment by Not A Alamedan — March 30, 2015 @ 8:42 am

  3. @not an Alamedan , very good point maybe it would lower the cost of such ticket for everyone of us , since they will have X amount of ticket guaranteed or maybe they plan to include a ticket membership plan ….
    Still have to see how they will deal with the first law suit from accident as they will be required to show maintenance record and user ……

    Comment by arnold — March 30, 2015 @ 9:20 am

  4. 2. They are trying to launch in the east bay. Oakland is the center of mass of the program, but they want their coverage to include more communities like Berkeley and Alameda. You could leave it anywhere within the coverage area. There will be guidelines about where you can and can’t leave for parking restrictions, but they will have permits for the meters so drivers don’t have to worry about feeding the meter, it’s baked in.

    Comment by BMac — March 30, 2015 @ 9:22 am

  5. Are you allowed to drive off the island, as long as it is returned in Alameda? If so, who gets the Red Light ticket, the bridge toll bill, etc? Or does the Car2go just die when its tires detect the bridge grating or enter the tube?

    Comment by vigi — March 30, 2015 @ 9:22 am

  6. Car 2 go kind like uber ” which by the way has no fixed rate ! it fluctuate with demand and very little insurance .
    Good luck when you will be in an accident , Oh but they happen only to other

    Getting tired of all the bull crap of electric car they pollute as much as any other , only difference they use the power grid , I would buy into it if the City of Alameda was giving credit to home owner for installing solar panel , the only time they did it , it went to a few Co which capitalized on the market not the home owner ,

    Since we are at it why there is not a single solar panel on Bayport or anywhere in the new construction in that part of town ?
    Why not ? not in my back yard attitude ?
    We are either green or simply blowing air ,
    can anyone imagine how much electricity would be generated from every school roof , looking for funds , sell back that electricity to the City at fair market value , You would not have to raise taxes every other month.
    Only trouble one has the lax attitude raise the taxes and the City does not want solar panel PERIOD .
    Because of it’s location , Alameda should have minimum need to import power and relying on others {PGE} to transport power .

    Comment by Joel — March 30, 2015 @ 9:44 am

  7. Lots of people have solar panels in Bayport.

    Comment by Lauren Do — March 30, 2015 @ 9:56 am

  8. Can’t see any from google earth , they must have an old version of the project , so much for google !

    Comment by Joel — March 30, 2015 @ 10:00 am

  9. #6 for a more nuanced view of the pollution caused by electric vehicles see

    Comment by Jeff Ward — March 30, 2015 @ 11:08 am

  10. Joel, I believe you can add it as an option at Alameda Landing, I think Grand Marina offered it, a lot of Bayport homes have it. My question for you is do you have it? Also at Alameda Landing they have tankless water heaters.

    Comment by Jake. — March 30, 2015 @ 11:24 am

  11. 9. from that link:

    “Ozzie Zehner has become quite bummed out about electric vehicles, as he wrote for the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (Unclean at Any Speed). He referenced a 2010 National Academy of Science (NAS) assessment of the Hidden Costs of Energy, and stated that the lifecycle health and environmental damages of an electric vehicle are actually greater than that of a gasoline-powered car…discounting climate change effects.

    Of course, one of the most important issues facing us is climate change, so I’m not sure what his conclusions really mean.”

    So, as we should all be aware, there is no free lunch. But electric or gas, the car2go at least seems like a creative thoughtful innovation, relatively benign. Yet commenters like 3 and 5 can’t help reveling in their own snarky banality, which is aimed at proving what exactly ?….that their opinions are generally irrelevant?

    My first instinct on any proposed innovation is always to go with my gut which half the time is wrong, but after several passes, I usually begin to open up to things like data ( science), which more often than not goes beyond being “merely theoretical”, a convenient term for dismissal.

    This link is more relevant to the bike lanes post from Friday.
    Alameda’s roads and layout may have few direct correlations to Oakland, but the general discussion is completely relevant. Even critiques should study up. Either that or dry up and blow away.

    As for car2go, unlike Uber, this is a real example of a sharing economy. Is lack of direct control through personal ownership so threatening that it deserves being scoffed at? 3 and 5, if it’s hard for you to relate, there’s no reason to confine everyone to your standards and limitations.

    Comment by MI — March 30, 2015 @ 12:32 pm

  12. We used to have both CityCarShare and ZipCar on the island, now only CityCarShare. I have been a CityCarShare member for about 6 years and the car at Santa Clara and Park has been our second car when needed. It has been the vehicle for my son to commute to college class in the South Bay twice a week one summer, the vehicle to move my daughter to UC Davis dorms her first year there, and the vehicle to take my son’s band equipment to his gigs. It is much more economical than owning, and when I retire I will probably give up having a vehicle in favor of the shared vehicle, bicycle and public transit. So I am all for this shared model and hope that Car2Go gets the approvals it needs to start up in the East Bay.

    Comment by Kevis Brownson — March 30, 2015 @ 6:14 pm

  13. You get paid to be the hall monitor and general curmudgeon, Mark?

    Comment by jack — March 30, 2015 @ 7:44 pm

  14. @11 = What is “snarky” and “banal” abut the reality of traffic tickets or points on your license? Is Mark Irons one of the protected persons who has never been pulled over by an Alameda cop? Or does driving a car2go protect the operator from any such events like “fix-it tickets” and the like. I suppose this will be an instant benefit for those who might be inclined to transport contraband in their car. If you are pulled over and your car2go is searched, and the police find drugs, or guns, or child porn, you can always blame it on the last person who drove the car.
    Of course, in MI’s perfect world, no one who drove a car2go in Alameda would ever think of doing any of the aforementioned activities…. We are perfectly well-behaved, we Alamedans.

    Comment by vigi — March 31, 2015 @ 9:32 am

  15. Car2go, I imagine, works the same way as renting a car from, say Avis or Hertz while on vacation. In fact, traditional car rental services like Avis and Enterprise have started their own car sharing services too. And Avis owns car sharing service Zipcar.

    Car2go, as I mentioned is owned by the Daimler corporation, pretty sure they’ve figured out all the liabilities even if we’re unable to wrap our minds around car sharing services.

    Comment by Lauren Do — March 31, 2015 @ 9:39 am

  16. “pretty sure they’ve figured out ALL the liabilities”. Maybe. Maybe not.

    Comment by vgi — March 31, 2015 @ 11:09 am

  17. Uh, that meant that it wasn’t making money, not that a bunch of people were carting around illegal contraband in the cars.

    From Reuters:

    Car2go failed to win more than 10,000 customers and therefore could not achieve the five to eight daily bookings necessary to make the business sustainable in the U.K., a spokesman for the company said.

    By contrast, car2go had attracted around 110,000 users in Rome and Milan and around 70,000 clients in Germany where the service is offered in seven cities including Berlin and Hamburg.

    Comment by Lauren Do — March 31, 2015 @ 11:14 am

  18. Not making money is a result, not a cause. You reason illogically. It meant that, for whatever reasons, people didn’t use it. “The unique challenges we encountered were more significant than expected,” the company said.

    Comment by vigi — March 31, 2015 @ 11:47 am

  19. this is starting to become funny.

    Comment by BMac — March 31, 2015 @ 1:34 pm

  20. Lauren wrote: “…the TC totally flubbed the Clement Street plan…”

    I completely disagree with Lauren’s assessment. I do not support door zone (DZ) Class II bike lanes, either, and they are all over Alameda. But the cycle track (the “preferred option” for Clement Avenue Complete Streets Project) really does not seem to fit with the trucking needs–especially the 12-15-foot-wide loads associated with the many marinas and marine businesses along Clement Avenue, who contribute significantly to Alameda’s economy and recreation and are powerful politically–probably more so than cyclists.

    The consistent message that cycle tracks are something akin to God’s gift to bicycling (and complete streets) is distressing to me, because some of my fellow bike advocates–whom I deeply respect–seem to be either ignoring or discounting the very real needs of commercial businesses in Alameda. And those business owners are very unhappy, as we heard at the Transportation Commission meeting March 25.

    The cycle track design retains parking on both sides of Clement and only allows two 11-foot traffic lanes between those 7-foot-wide spaces for parked cars–22 feet of drivable width. At least a 5-foot-wide Class II DZ bike lane adds 10 feet to the usable street width for wide loads, offering a total of 32 feet of usable roadway–meaning that the entire street would not have to be closed down for a 12-foot-wide boat on a trailer to traverse Clement. Unless BikeWalkAlameda and other cycle track advocates work with the business owners to find a mutually agreeable solution that respects all roadway users, I suspect that a cycle track *will* lose–and badly–in a head-to-head political fight, which would not be helpful.

    I have suggested several times that a *buffered* bike lane would be superior on Clement–an industrial street that cannot be really “bike friendly as long as it is listed as a major truck route, after all. Installing buffered bike lanes (like on Folsom Street in San Francisco) but it would require removing the parking from one side of Clement from Broadway to Grand, which is going to be tough sell. The advantage, though, is that the 9 feet of buffering that *seems* to be available could provide:

    a) a 3-foot-wide DZ buffer from parked cars to the Class II bike lane on one side and a 3-foot buffer from the gutter on the other. This would clear most cyclists from most opening car doors, and remove them from the always-hazardous DZ. (The gutter, OTOH, is where broken glass, nails, and debris end up that put holes in bike tires.)

    b) a 1.5-foot (18-inch) buffer between the traffic-side edge of each bike lane and the vehicles going by cyclists. Since traffic speeds will be slowed by narrowing the traffic lanes to 11 feet in width, That ought to make cycling on Clement considerably safer for most cyclists–at least the teens and adults most likely to commute to work or school on Clement.Younger cyclists can safely ride such a bike lane if accompanied by other experienced youth, teen, or adult cyclists.

    Buffered Class II lanes may not work out, either, but I really hope that the bike advocates and marine businesses can work out a mutually agreeable compromise that will not cause animosity between those constituencies: the prospect of an unmediated head-to-head clash between advocates of “a cycle track or nothing” and the needs of marine businesses and trucking does not look good.

    Comment by Jon Spangler — March 31, 2015 @ 6:31 pm

  21. How about repaving all the streets and fixing the thousands of blocks of sidewalks first, that have been neglected and we have deferred their maintenance for years before concentrating on another bike lane.

    Driving, Biking and walking in the chuck hole city.

    Comment by Cobalt Black Keys Johnson — March 31, 2015 @ 8:24 pm

  22. Jon, I think your fear of two way cycle tracks w/ a small buffer from the parking lane is overstated. Yes, its not ideal. But, your comments at TC and elsewhere about this small buffer being a guarantee for door zone collisions I don’t think reflect the likely reality of the situation. Contra-flow bike lanes seem insane at first blush, but we are seeing more and more of them and learning.

    Looking at Shoreline, as an example…. The cyclist and the passenger that would have to open the door through the buffer and hit a cyclist riding on the edge of the bike lane would be facing each other, giving both a fair shot at not creating a conflict in the first place and avoiding incident if one party isn’t paying attention. But, even if all the stars aligned and the biker hits the opening passenger door, its much less dangerous than the traditional door zone crashes we are used to. The bike hits the door and pushes it closed, creating a likely glancing blow, as opposed to completely arresting the momentum of a bike in a normal class II door zone crash.

    I am on board with the idea that the ball was dropped in not anticipating and incorporating the reaction of the plans by the maritime industrial community. Staff, advocates and businesses could have put more effort into a negotiated solution rather than an all or nothing showdown that we lost. On the other hand, Clement isn’t the 710 freeway out of the port of Long Beach and San Pedro. Yeah, its a truck route. We are required to have one. The laws and consultants and staff all seemed to think we would survive w/ 11 foot lanes and treatments at the intersections and driveways.

    That being said, I would prefer removing a lane of parking and providing proper, buffered bike lanes next to each curb. Clement doesn’t seem to be a street w/ a scarcity of on street parking, outside of 6 nights a year for football, or whatever. The compromise that someone else suggested, is to go w/ the original concept of a protected, 2-way cycle track, but remove the on street parking on the north side during business hours. This would provide the required road space for the superyachts to make it one mile w/out inconvenience.

    Comment by BMac — March 31, 2015 @ 9:43 pm

  23. I think Jon Spangler has done an excellent job of speaking to this Clement Ave situation. Yes, I really do.

    What good are the opinions of all “the laws and consultants and staff”, if the people who have actually been living and working on Clement don’t believe them?

    And why is there always enough money to match a grant to begin a New Project, but never enough money to clean up the Old blight at the base and repair the existing pavement all over the city? I’m with Cobalt BKJ.

    Maintenance isn’t going to win prizes for Public Works like new projects do, but maintenance of existing structure is what people expect of good city government.

    Comment by vigi — April 1, 2015 @ 12:18 pm

  24. Sounds like a good idea. I know someone who uses a car share service. He used the car to move his possessions when he moved from one apt to another. The only problem is, HE HAD BEDBUGS! He infested his first apt, which was extremely costly for his landlord. After that I do not know what happened.

    Comment by Elaine — April 1, 2015 @ 12:35 pm

  25. I have to agree with comment #21…Cobalt Black Keys Johnson – As I was out driving today…I saw 1 person on a bike and about 1,000 cars and our streets and sidewalks need repaired. I we utilizing our money for a few or the majority of the people in Alameda? We have 2 bikes and 1 has been used once in 5 years. Our household is a more of a spur of the moment type where we decided to go somewhere, such as a movie, to dinner, to the grocery store that we would never pull out our bikes to travel to. We also go to the dog parks and we need to drive them because one of them sees a squirrel he would pull your right off your bike.

    We live in a place where people complain if they can’t park right in front of their house. 1/3 of the island are older people (guess) and I don’t see them riding a bike…(Jon S. is an exception, despite his older age he does it). Probably over 50% of the people drive their kids to school.

    I not saying bike lanes are not needed but are we getting the bang for our buck. If we build them will more people actually use them. This is just my observation while driving around the city today.

    Comment by Jake. — April 1, 2015 @ 3:53 pm

  26. 23. “What good are the opinions of all “the laws and consultants and staff”, if the people who have actually been living and working on Clement don’t believe them?”

    that depends on the basis of their “belief system”. It seemed to me that some of them, like the guy from Grand Marina, have extremely narrow parameters for their beliefs. I think to be fair we should all be open to seeing evidence presented from other perspectives and hearing all evidence of positions contrary to our own beliefs. People who have used Clement only experience their use under existing conditions which frankly aren’t very demanding.

    Until we verify real demands for 15′ wide loads it isn’t apparent what the disruption potential is for having 11 foot lanes.

    Comment by MI — April 1, 2015 @ 6:28 pm

  27. Leave Clement alone, LD uses it to miss all the lights on Buena Vista.

    Comment by jack — April 1, 2015 @ 7:01 pm

  28. Daimler, by the way, is the parent company of Mercedes Benz

    Comment by ron — April 4, 2015 @ 10:18 am

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