Joe Krupp wants to park a new Community Car near Kennedy Point, his 42-unit condominium project approaching completion at the corner of Eastwood Drive, Winnebago and First streets.
Whether the car-sharing fleet expands to this part of town depends, in part, on the extent to which existing neighborhood residents and businesses embrace the idea.
"It just makes sense," says the developer, who has committed to cover half the costs for the new car. As an amenity for Kennedy Point residents, the vehicle might present "an opportunity for some buyers to shed a car."
People in the surrounding neighborhood, including businesses and residents at nearby Kennedy Place, could also take advantage of the new resource. He might, too, Krupp adds: "My office is within half a block of the site."
For Community Car, this neighborhood-based arrangement represents a new model for expanding its fleet. Amanda White, executive director for the three-year-old car-sharing organization, says Krupp would be the first developer to collaborate with the group. She adds that this model could be exported to other Madison neighborhoods, such as Hilldale, Bay Creek, the near north side and the East Washington corridor.
Launched in October 2003 with three vehicles, Community Car has grown to include four Toyota Prius hybrids, two Honda Civics (one of them a hybrid), a Ford Ranger pickup truck, an eight-passenger Sienna minivan and a Mini Cooper, along with a membership base of 422 people, who have logged a total of 135,000 miles in the group's first three years.
Four of the vehicles are parked on the UW-Madison campus, at Helen C. White and Grainger halls, UW Hospital and the Biotech building, with a fifth to be added this fall. Others are scattered from Williamson Street to the Monroe Street library. Each vehicle is emblazoned with the Community Car logo, and has vanity plates bearing messages like LESS CO2, MORE MPG, OWN LESS, SHARE IT and 2040000, the phone number for Community Car.
Sustain Dane, Madison Friends of International Students, Common Wealth Development, the Madison Children's Museum, the Simpson Street Free Press and 20 other nonprofits account for 65 of those 422 drivers, and 10 local businesses account for 23 more. The remaining members are individuals and families.
Community Car charges a $50 application fee. Members then choose from seven different plans. Under the basic plan, for example, individuals subscribe at $15 per month and, to use one of the vehicles, pay $4.50 per hour and 45 cents per mile. The hourly plan costs $9.25 per hour, and includes 10 free miles per hour. The annual plan costs $775 per year, which covers 100 hours and 1,000 miles.
The rates for all plans include gas, repairs, maintenance, full insurance, car washes and 24-hour roadside assistance. Members reserve vehicles by phone or online, use a code to access the car keys at the reserved site, drive, return the vehicle to its assigned parking place and pay the monthly bill for miles and hours driven.
Until now, much of the fleet's expansion has been driven by relationships with institutions such as UW-Madison Transportation Services, which encourages faculty, staff and students to bus, bike or walk to campus, and consider using a Community Car for errands. Madison Community Foundation partnered with Community Car to site the eight-passenger mini-van in a location convenient to nonprofit groups as well as other members. And Smart Toyota donated two-year leases for two of the group's Prius hybrids, White notes.
Krupp's engagement with Community Car points to how the organization might work with neighborhoods and developers in the coming years.
To make Krupp's proposal happen, Community Car is seeking 10 to 12 residents and businesses in the Schenk-Atwood area to commit to the organization's annual plan, which would include access to the entire fleet. This commitment would make up the difference left by Krupp's offer to cover half the costs for the fuel-efficient vehicle.
"The reason we are looking for assistance to bring another car to the fleet is because costs for a new car are so high up front," says White. "We have to know that a Community Car will work in a neighborhood." Factors such as mixed-use development, population density and transportation infrastructure come into consideration, she explains.
"We're interested in knowing who wants a Community Car, and bringing the service to them," says White, who invites inquiries at 204-0000. If the Schenk-Atwood neighborhood responds, she adds, "we would like to bring the car to the area this fall." The parking lot at Trinity Lutheran Church is a possible site.
Krupp believes the Schenk-Atwood area will prove favorable to Community Car. "I think it really fits the value system of the neighborhood," he says.