Saturday, February 23, 2013

Car rentals a go-go


Neighborhood awash in mini-cars


For a few weeks earlier this year it looked like some car-rental company had decided to dispose of its auto inventory onto the streets of Madison Park rather than buying a parking lot somewhere and behaving like a normal operator. The sudden hyper-abundance of those little blue-and-white vehicles was, of course, just part of the rental company's media hype---a more-subtle version of that well-known ploy used by certain truck-rental, hauling, and plumbing companies (the ones who strategically park trucks advertising their services on arterials where billboards would not be allowed).

To be fair, this car-rental concern does not advertise with "Rent Me for Only 38 Cents Per Minute!" plastered on the sides of its smart cars. That's probably not due to modesty or discretion, but rather a practical cost-related decision (what's the expense of repainting all the cars if the rates go up to 39 cents, for example?). But whether these cars are cluttering up our streets or are simply a wonderful new convenience available to Madison Parkers depends on your point of view. Some businesses in other neighborhoods apparently object to parking spaces being taken up by these vehicles (or so one media outlet has reported). No reports of that reaction here, although this is not the time of year when neighborhood parking is a problem.  When the summer rolls around (if it does) things may be different.

A quick inventory of the neighborhood's thoroughfares last week led us to believe that the hype was over and that the six cars remaining in Madison Park (where there had been 12-15 at the get go) meant that the car company had moved on. In the previous weeks the company's young "car jockeys" had been moving a large number of vehicles around the neighborhood just to get greater exposure for the service.  Apparently, however, that is still happening. There were an even dozen of the vehicles on the streets of Madison Park this afternoon.

Of course these could all be cars that have been legitimately rented and then returned to the streets by their satisfied users.  Or not.  It is interesting to note that neighboring Madrona has only three of the vehicles on its streets, while Denny Blaine has only two and Leschi and Laurelhurst have none.

But perhaps we haven't been targeted.  Maybe Madison Parkers are just big on curbside car renting.

[We hate to become complicit in the rental company's marketing efforts, but in case any reader is interested in a dissection of this new service and how it compares to a different one, we provide this helpful link to the Seattle Transit Blog. The company, by the way, pays the City of Seattle for the right to park on residential streets, or so it has been reliably reported.]

21 comments:

  1. It is likely that Car-to-Go are spotting cars down here to differentiate themselves from ZipCars which have just the one car, the red Mazda at 24 & Madison, anywhere near the Park. Car-to-Go are clever marketers, with Daimler Benz ownership, and many of the commentors on Seattle Transit Blog are rather enamored of Car-to-Go for their sudden impulse rentals for short duration and mileage trips.

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  2. I live in the Madison Park area and utilize Car 2 Go often! I prefer to ride the bus (I find it more environmentally and financially sound) but when I have to work late its nice to have a safe ride home. Beyond their initial deployment, I'm pretty sure the placement of Car 2 Go cars is decided by the customers, rather than marketing.

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  3. I've considered dumping my l'il car since seeing Car 2 Go's presence.

    Though I'd prefer zipcar's variety of brands snd types of cars, it's so far nice that Car 2 Go's Smart car "treadprint" doesn't suck ss much street parking space per vehicle as the typical zipcar or private vehicle.

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  4. Given that we are the Regional Banking Center, so why not be the car rental center too? The real question is where are Madison Park's business and civic leaders or are they missing in action?

    Several years we got together and stopped food carts in the Park, so who dropped the ball this time?

    Do we really need this tiny cars, when we have buses and bikes that can be used instead of private automobiles?

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    1. Rats -- did we really stop food carts? Must have been just before I got here. Sigh.

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  5. I use Car2Go. It is far superior to the bus service for certain point-to-point routes. When you figure the median income in the Park, then figure the hourly rate that implies, you can see why saving an hour taking a Car2Go versus taking the bus makes a lot of sense for many Park residents. An hour less on the bus saves me a few hundred dollars in my billing/earning rate. It is a no-brainer.

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  6. Yes, Madison Park's "civic leaders" really need to file paperwork to begin the process of succession from the city of Seattle.

    We simply cannot be treated like every other neighborhood.

    Don't they understand how important we think we are?

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    Replies
    1. Honestly, don't people realize that we can not have riff-raff from outside the zone enter unless they are driving their Yukon XL or Range Rover? These environmentally responsible cars are a menace and a threat to our way of life.

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  7. What Civic Leaders are we talking about and do they have names? They are either AWOL or MIA and the only evidence that they exist is a quarterly flyer requesting money, for what I don't know!

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  8. If the MPCC hadn't been doing a stellar job for decades, you would have lost that sense of elitism a long time ago.

    So, take heart. It's not as bad as you are sitting idly by complaining about while others do everything.







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    1. Believe it or not, for many, the relatively new "elitism" of Madison Park is a BAD thing. Why would the MPCC be protecting it?

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    2. The question still is WHO ARE THE CIVIC LEADERS of Madison Park and why won't they identify themselves, let alone comment openly in the Blog or elsewhere?

      It appears to me that these CIVIC LEADERS are sitting idly by and letting others put out ANONYMOUS replies for them!

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    3. I smell confusion.

      This blog is not affilitated with the MPCC in any way, shape, or form. Elected community volunteer leaders have nothing to do with it. It's just a neighborhood guy writing whatever he wants about the neighborhood. It's his hobby.

      Therefore, if you are looking for information about the membership, activities and positions of the MPCC, you are looking in the wrong place. If you want the answers to your questions, attend MPCC meetings, or copy the below URL into your web browser and all your questions will be answered.

      http://www.madisonparkseattle.com/madisonparkcommunitycouncil/

      Glad to help.

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    4. The last reply raises the question (or confusion) as to what may or may not be discussed in this blog. I for one believe this blog is open for topics of interest to those in Madison Park, right?

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    5. Gee thank you so much for posting the MPCC website, but I must ask if something is wrong since it is still promoting the January 2013 meeting, the December 2012 Xmas ship and there are not meeting minutes past 2012. Yes, the page interesting since it contains the current members and bylaws, but nothing of any real interest for the questions posed by other blog posters.

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  9. The anonymous civic leaders will be meeting at the Madison Park Bathhouse on Monday night at 7:00 pm. I'm sure they will be glad to introduce themselves. The fact you don't know their names is because you choose not to find out when it is so easy. I have been a community volunteer for over 30 years and have NEVER put any effort into being anonymous. I'll gladly put my name on what I say and I say for people to write that they don't know the civic leaders names and then not identify themselves is a thought process I don't understand

    Jim Hagan

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    1. Jim,

      Are you one of the civic leaders of Madison Park, if not then why are you speaking for them? It appears that you are asking people to go find the Civic Leaders at a meeting, but wouldn't it be better if they spoke up and signed their name as you did?

      This blog is an open forum that gives us a chance to discuss things outside of a once a month control meeting, that may not even have time for open discussions.

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    2. One sided conversations rarely develop into a meaningful exchange - they are in no way the discussions you seek. You have asked WHO the civic leaders are - you asked and it was answered. Your assumption that these individuals are hanging out reading the comments on this blog smacks of paranoia. I suggest you go to the next MPCC meeting to get "answers" to whatever questions you have and give the rest of us a much needed breather from your conspiracy theory.

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  10. If the MPCC is the sole source of Civic Leaders in Madison Park, then how about the Business Group, which is a separate organization?

    If you check the fist comments about Civic Leaders, it did not mention the MPCC and once would hope they stop being so defensive in their blog responses in the future!

    One would hope the above MPCC promoters are not suggesting the we stop commenting in the blog and only talk in their monthly meetings!!! One must ask if some self appointed people are now policing this blog for us?

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    Replies
    1. Roswell, Lee Harvey Oswald and Mad Park leadership. We demand answers!!!

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  11. Oh, for the days of Lola, aka the Mayor of Madison Park, now there is a Civic Leader we all looked up to and respected!!! Those days were sure much simpler and kinder than what we have in Madison Park now...

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