The New York City Council recently voted and gave its approval to a new waterfront development in the Greenpoint section of Brooklyn which is known as Greenpoint Landing. There are many miles of waterfront along the borders of Brooklyn which have magnificent views of Manhattan in the northern sections of the Brooklyn waterfront in the areas of Greenpoint and Williamsburg. The Brooklyn waterfront has been dominated for many years with an industrial base consisting of electrical power plants operated by Con Ed to the famous Domino Sugar Factory which closed several years ago as the Domino Sugar Company moved all its operations to other states.
The areas of Greenpoint and Williamsburg have undergone a total renaissance, a transformation from areas of blight and crime to become one of the most sought after residential areas of New York City as a whole and Brooklyn in particular. Residents of Manhattan and other locales in and around New York City have seen residents flock to the lofts and buildings of Williamsburg and Greenpoint Brooklyn. Former warehouses and factories have been gutted and re-purposed for residential use by the millennial, yuppies and artists that are calling the area home.<!–more–>
Among the many new additions to the Greenpoint and Williamsburg sections of Brooklyn has been the emergence of the car share, hourly car rental which is changing not only car rental in Brooklyn and New York City but affecting car ownership and usage of cars and car rental throughout these neighborhoods. Residents of Greenpoint and Williamsburg are among the biggest advocates for car share services such as that offered by Carpingo preferring to rent a car by the hour rather than incur the expense of owning a car which sits idle most of the week.
The New York City council must approve changes to zoning regulations throughout all neighborhoods of Brooklyn and New York City which in this case called for a change in the zoning from a manufacturing industrial land purpose to a residential purpose which allows the owners of the land along the Greenpoint waterfront to build several large apartment towers and complexes which will be known as the Greenpoint Landing development. The New York City council typically defers issuing an award of a change in zoning to the local representative from the area which in this case is the New York City Councilman elected by the residents of Greenpoint and Williamsburg by the name of Steve Levin. Councilman Levin is a member of the recently formed Progressive caucus which has brought together several members of the New York City council to advocate for issues which have not been advocated for in the past.
Among the leaders of the Brooklyn delegation of the Progressive City Council members is Brad Lander who represents the Park Slope neighborhood of Brooklyn which has a similar character and composition as Greenpoint and Williamsburg. Both Park Slope and Williamsburg and Greenpoint Brooklyn are home to several locations of Carpingo hourly car rental vehicles as well as cars operated by several other car share and hourly car rental companies of New York City though Carpingo remains the only car share, hourly car rental company which was founded and retains a headquarters in Brooklyn, outside of Park Slope on 4th Avenue within a few blocks of the new Atlantic Yards development and the Barclays Center.
I was most intrigued by the new development along the Greenpoint waterfront in the terms of the approval for Greenpoint Landing which are cited as conditions and requirements by the New York City council. Among the list is included the need to establish affordable housing, provide a shuttle service for residents to get to and from the subway system, improvements to and construction of parks as well as schools for the children who are anticipated to populate the new community. What I found most interesting was the requirement the developers of Greenpoint Landing incorporate a car share facility in the first phase of the project. As far as I know and been able to research, this is the first time the New York City council has required any development to include car share, hourly car rental in the construction and design of the development.
With increasing numbers and frequency residents of various neighborhoods of Brooklyn and elsewhere in New York City are giving up ownership of personal cars preferring to use the service of a local car share company, preferring to rent the car when they need the car for as long as they need the rental car which is less expensive than owning and maintaining a car seven days a week with payments for car insurance, parking lot expense, gas and maintenance and repairs.
Carpingo and other car share companies allow the hundreds of residents of a development such as Greenpoint Landing to share a handful of vehicles rather than each resident or apartment have a car as was the case for many years. The car share model allows buildings and developments to require fewer parking spaces which allows cars to be shared as they are rented when needed for as long as needed rather than sit idle for most of the week. The environmental impact reduces emissions and pollutants from the air and provides for more access to cars for residents of Greenpoint Landing.
I hope that the local elected officials, community leaders, Councilman Steve Levin and others within the Greenpoint and Williamsburg community extend the requirement for car sharing to all future developments which are sprouting around the borough of Brooklyn and elsewhere in New York City. I hope that the developers of Greenpoint Landing consider using local car share and hourly car rental companies to retain the flavor and service of the local community as they move ahead with this innovative project along the Greenpoint waterfront joining other local icons such as Brooklyn Bowl and the many art galleries.