Companies like car2go offer car sharing services where members can rent vehicles by the minute, hour or day. Submitted photo.

Councillor advocates for car sharing in Willoughby

Important to look at all transportation options in Langley, beyond what TransLink provides

Greater density could mean greater transportation options in Willoughby — but not through traditional bus and train routes.

If one Township councillor has her way, it will instead be through communal cars.

For several months, Coun. Angie Quaale has been asking for ride sharing services to be brought to Langley.

Companies, such as Evo, Modo, car2go and Zipcar, run membership-based programs where people can rent vehicles by the minute, hour or day, and generally appeal to those who want to avoid the expense of owning their own car.

Their services are primarily designed for shorter time and shorter distance trips as an extension of the transportation network, supporting mobility choices, transit-oriented developments and housing affordability, according to a Township staff report.

“Car sharing requires a certain level of density before it’s viable, and I think we’re getting to the place in Willoughby where it’s starting to become viable,” Quaale said.

“And with better access to transit, and just better transportation options — hopefully, Uber included — having this as another option to consider is something I think we should be working on.

“But the car share requires density, so I think we need to be considering that and looking at all of our options around transportation, not just waiting for TransLink to be the only provider.”

Quaale recently had language added into the Smith Neighbourhood Plan for car-sharing programs to be considered in new multi-family developments.

Opportunities for car sharing in the Township are also mentioned in the draft Brookswood-Fernridge Community Plan and in the Township Parking Bylaws Review, both of which are in the final phases of completion.

Neighbouring municipalities of Coquitlam, New Westminster, Richmond, Surrey and Vancouver already have policies in place to support car-sharing programs and other transportation demand strategies. In Langley, Kwantlen Polytechnic University once had dedicated parking stalls for car2go, but those were removed in January.

“It’s future planning and it’s not meant to replace anything, it’s just providing another option,” Quaale said.

When it comes to affordable housing in Langley, where many new units are being built with less expensive tandem garages instead of two-car garages, Quaale says car sharing programs could help fill the gap for single-vehicle families.

“I have not been a big fan of tandem garages and the parking situation, and I understand two-car garages increase the cost of housing. People want affordable housing and they maybe only have one car, and so they need another option.

“Maybe on Saturdays they need to take two kids to two places, so a car share would be helpful to somebody in that situation who doesn’t need two cars every day…. People could use it if they didn’t have their own car and had to go to the hospital, or Home Depot to do a home reno.”

The 2014 Metro Vancouver Car Share Study estimates that there are more than 65,000 car-sharing members and 1,000 car-share vehicles in the region.

Each car-share vehicle is said to replace anywhere from five to 11 private personal vehicles.

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