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The Zipcar pitch is tantalizing: Use a car whenever you want for as little as $6 a month and $8.75 an hour, gas and insurance included. Now available in most U.S. cities, Zipcar maintains about 30 cars in Milwaukee, spread across 21 locations. Convenience is paramount – if a customer has to walk a mile […]

The Zipcar pitch is tantalizing: Use a car whenever you want for as little as $6 a month and $8.75 an hour, gas and insurance included. Now available in most U.S. cities, Zipcar maintains about 30 cars in Milwaukee, spread across 21 locations. Convenience is paramount – if a customer has to walk a mile to find a Zipcar, she might just take the bus. Since expanding citywide in 2013, the Massachusetts-based company has rented space in city-owned lots to store its vehicles, a more constricting arrangement than in many other cities. In Chicago, Minneapolis, Baltimore and Los Angeles, Zipcar reserves on-street parking spots for its vehicles, a rental deal that the Milwaukee Department of Public Works says it’s willing to consider, pending the necessary changes to state law.

“We cannot permit one type of vehicle to park and ticket a different type,” says Sandy Rusch Walton, communications director at DPW. Such preferential treatment wouldn’t fly under current state statutes, even if Zipcar paid the city for exclusive use of the spots.
Still, Zipcar and potentially Enterprise, which could bring its CarShare service to the city, thinks such changes would be worth the effort. “On-street parking would provide highly visible, easily accessible Zipcar locations for city constituents,” says Chandra Morando, Zipcar’s “market manager” in Milwaukee. And while DPW supports changing state law – plans that have not yet yielded a bill – department officials still prefer “off-street parking” for Zipcar, says Rusch Walton, “due to street cleaning and snow-plowing concerns.” ■

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