Brooklyn Boro

Curbside electric car charging stations are coming. Comments, please?

120 parking spots to be taken

March 18, 2019 Raanan Geberer
An electric vehicle bring charged. Photo via Mikes Photos / Pexels.
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The city’s plan to wipe out 120 parking spots across the city in order to create dedicated charging stations for electric vehicles is now up for discussion, with public comments being accepted online.

Spurred by growing concerns about greenhouse gas emissions and aggressive policy incentives from both City Hall and Albany, the city Department of Transportation is proposing rules that will clear the way for electric vehicle charging stations to be created in place of parking spots.

The rules changes, which you can read here, would define electric vehicles and amend the city’s language around parking restrictions for authorized vehicles to include both electric vehicles and carshares.

While charging stations for electric and hybrid vehicles already exist within the city, few, if any, have been installed at traditional curbside parking locations.

In order to make the amendments, the city must solicit public comment and hold a hearing. Anyone can comment on the proposed rules in the following ways:

  • Website. You can submit comments to DOT through the NYC rules website.
  • Email. You can email comments to [email protected].
  • Mail. You can mail comments to Susan McSherry, Alternative Fuels Program, 55 Water Street, 6th Floor, New York, NY 10041.
  • Fax. You can fax comments to Susan McSherry, Alternative Fuels Program at 212-839-9685.
  • By speaking at the hearing. Anyone who wants to comment on the proposed rule at the public hearing must sign up to speak. You can sign up before the hearing by calling 212-839-6500. You can also sign up in the hearing room before the hearing begins on April 16, 2019. You can speak for up to three minutes.

Curbside locations for the exclusive use of charging electric vehicles would by definition do away with some parking spots. Locations would be marked with dedicated use signs, forbidding parking or standing.

The proposed regulations are the latest in a series of initiatives by Mayor Bill de Blasio. In 2016, he required DOT to install charging stations in all municipal parking lots.

Then, in September 2017, he announced a plan to install at least one fast-charging EV hub, with up to 20 chargers per site, in every borough. At the same time, he announced a partnership with Con Edison to “reserve access to 100 or more on-street parking spaces for EVs only, where they would be able to plug in for low-speed charging.” That figure has been amended in the legal notice to 120 charging ports.

The plan was hailed by Brooklyn officials such as State Sen. Kevin Parker,

“It is imperative that elected officials work together to ensure the use of clean, renewable energy sources in efforts to combat climate change,” Parker said.

Gov. Andrew Cuomo has also been busy on the electric-vehicle front. In September 2018, he announced that the state allocated $5 million for grants to owners of multifamily apartment buildings, office buildings, retail locations and theaters to install EV charging stations that meet government standards. In 2013, he announced the Change NY initiative, which offers a $2,000 rebate for buyers of new electric vehicles.

As of April 2017, there were about 25-30 EV charging spots in Brooklyn, according to a map by FleetCarma. The largest number were located in Downtown Brooklyn and nearby areas stretching from Red Hook to Park Slope to DUMBO. Williamsburg had a smaller cluster, and there were a few charging stations in Bay Ridge and Canarsie.

Most charging stations were in large multifamily buildings’ parking lots or in commercial garages, but there were some notable exceptions such as Brooklyn Bridge Park, the Brooklyn Museum, IKEA in Red Hook and FDNY headquarters in MetroTech.

Electric vehicle sales in the U.S. totaled 361,307 in 2018, a staggering increase of 81 percent over 2017, according to Greentech Media.

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