Zipcar abandons Beacon Hill; suggests we walk to Judkins Park instead

Zipcar is zipping away from Beacon Hill. Photo by Andrew Currie.
Zipcar is zipping away from Beacon Hill. Photo by Andrew Currie.
Some months ago, Erica C. Barnett of The Stranger noted concerns that Zipcar, the company that consumed the much-loved Flexcar, would slash service in Seattle as they have already done in LA and San Diego.

There was reason to be concerned. Beacon Hill is about to lose its only Zipcar site on top of the hill, as well as the nearby site at 29th and Columbian Way. Zipcar members recently received this email:

“The Zipcar location at Beacon Ave S/Lander St is being closed December 31, 2008, but have no fear — there’s a Zipcar located just down the street at S Charles St/Hiawatha Place.”

Just down the street? That’s a long walk for Beaconians, roughly 1.4 miles. See the map below, in which doomed Zipcar sites are marked in red, and the remaining site at Charles and Hiawatha is marked in green:

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Zipcar’s website currently does not mention that these sites are going away, so some folks might have planned Zipcar memberships as Christmas gifts, only to find that their local Zipcar will be gone after New Year’s Eve.

This change seems extremely short-sighted, given the forthcoming opening of the Beacon Hill light rail station across the street from the Beacon/Lander Zipcar (which is currently in the Red Apple parking lot), and the Columbia City light rail station a block or two away from the Columbian/29th Zipcar. The locations would seem to be ideal for use in conjunction with transit.

You can tell Zipcar what you think by writing their Seattle General Manager, Carla Archambault, at Zipcar, 380 Union Street, Seattle, WA 98101; phoning 206-323-3539, or faxing 206-682-1657. The email address they give is company-wide (not just Seattle) so it may not be useful, but it is

5 thoughts on “Zipcar abandons Beacon Hill; suggests we walk to Judkins Park instead”

  1. I got the news about the Columbian Way car but missed that they’re stealing away the Red Apple car, too! I was a Flexcar member for 4 years and had access to the New Holly car (six blocks from my house) that whole time. Zipcar took that away with no notice, supposedly after doing “significant outreach” to up use. For the last year I’ve been alternating between the Columbia City and the Columbian Way cars but only because I was no longer confined to using the bus to get to a Zipcar location. Between the lack of access to cars and the state’s rental car tax, I no longer sing the praises of car sharing. I was an enthusiastic advocate under Flexcar’s reign and happily told friends and strangers alike about how happy I was as a member. Zipcar has burned away all of that goodwill and more. What a shame.

    Side note: I talked with Rep. Zack Hudgins about Zipcar when he was making an appearance at the lightrail safety fair this fall (both about the rental car tax issue and the disappearing car locations south of I-90) and I recently received a letter from him stating that he was leaning on Zipcar to return the New Holly location. It might be worthwhile, if people are inclined to protest these changes, to clue Rep. Hudgins in to Zipcar’s new agenda.

  2. We found out about this via the Beacon Hill Mailing List, and Zack is on the mailing list too, so he probably already knows. It wouldn’t hurt to write him anyway, though.

  3. This is not cool! I just signed up in November only because of the car location by Red Apple being convenient. It kind of defeats the purpose if I have to take a bus miles away to pick up. Funny they didn’t bother to alert me to this change nor decide to share this when I signed up. Especially after I confirmed multiple times with several service agents the locations and long term plans for zipcar availability. Bad business in my my opinion!

    Thanks for this update!

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