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CarShare Gets a Spot at Walgreen's
By Kathy Dalle-Molle
After almost a year of searching, City CarShare has finally found a place to hang its keys in Noe Valley. At press time, the popular nonprofit service, whose members can rent cars by the hour or day, was slated on Jan. 31 to park one of its signature green Volkswagen Beetles in the Walgreen's lot on the corner of Castro and Jersey streets.
"We are so pleased to finally be in the neighborhood," says City CarShare manager Annie Bourdon. City CarShare will install special signage designating the space a City CarShare spot. The space will be located next to the parking attendant's shed in the Walgreen's lot.
The idea to lobby for a space at Walgreen's came during a brainstorming session between Bourdon and the Friends of Noe Valley last July. After Bourdon told the group how much trouble she had been having finding a place for the bugs in Noe Valley, the Friends decided to write letters to three potential saviors: Walgreen's, Bell Market, and the Noe Valley Ministry, which is building a lot at the former Dan's Auto Service on 24th Street near Vicksburg. (An earlier attempt by CarShare to park two cars in the 15-space public parking lot on 24th Street near Castro--between Radio Shack and Le Zinc Café--had met stiff opposition from Noe Valley merchants.) When Walgreen's manager, Melissa May, responded with enthusiasm, Bourdon and Friends President Jeannene Przyblyski followed up in person. May then contacted Walgreen's headquarters in Deerfield, Ill.
"This is the first time that City CarShare has partnered with a major retail chain," Bourdon says. "We're really appreciative of the help we received from Melissa May and Jeannene Przyblyski. If we're successful with Walgreen's in Noe Valley, I hope it will pave the way for us to work with other Walgreen stores in the city, as well as other chains like Bell Market, Safeway, and Whole Foods."
Friends of Noe Valley is riding high, too. "We're thrilled," says Przyblyski. "We're just hoping that the other privately owned lots in the neighborhood, like Bell and the Noe Valley Ministry, will follow suit. The more spaces available in the neighborhood for CarShare, the more transit options we'll have and the more of an opportunity to reduce cars."
Bourdon agrees. "Walgreen's has been incredibly generous in giving us this space," she says, "but there's a big demand for CarShare in Noe Valley, so we know we need more spaces here."
In the meantime, in addition to the new Walgreen's location, CarShare members can use three other car pickup spots fairly close to Noe Valley: the Glen Park BART lot, the public lot at 18th and Collingwood in the Castro, and the New Mission Garage on 22nd near Valencia Street.
Since its founding in San Francisco in March 2001, City CarShare has gone from 12 cars and 40 customers to 85 cars and more than 2,000 customers. To sign up, members must pay a $300 refundable deposit, a $30 application fee, and $10 per month dues. Members also pay $3.50 an hour (up to $35 a day), plus 37 cents per mile, which includes gas and insurance.
For more information or to suggest a site for cars in Noe Valley, contact Annie Bourdon at email@example.com or by phone at 415-995-8589. You can also log on to City CarShare's web site at www.citycarshare.org. h