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EV charging stations to be installed in Santa Rosa and Johnson parks

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Two of San Luis Obispo's public parks are about to see the nighttime presence of electric vehicles.

On Nov. 14, the SLO City Council unanimously approved changing the municipal code to include a draft ordinance that allows electric vehicle charging from 10 p.m. to 5 a.m. in Santa Rosa and Johnson parks' parking lots.

Public parks are typically closed from 10 p.m. to 5 a.m., making it illegal for people to enter or remain there during that time unless approved by the city's Public Works director. The draft ordinance lifts that prohibition for the drivers and passengers of such vehicles.

"It only provides this exception to those who are actively charging their vehicles," Public Works Business Analyst Brendan Pringle said at the meeting. "Nothing else in the municipal code will be affected by this proposed ordinance."

STREAMLINED SLO City Council approved amending the municipal code to allow drivers and passengers of electric vehicles to charge their cars after hours at future stations in two public parks. - FILE PHOTO COURTESY OF CAL EVIP
  • File Photo Courtesy Of CAL eVIP
  • STREAMLINED SLO City Council approved amending the municipal code to allow drivers and passengers of electric vehicles to charge their cars after hours at future stations in two public parks.

City officials opted to ease rules to align with a major city goal, an access and parking management plan strategy, and an element of the climate action plan work program. Those three plans call for sustainable transport options, more off-street electric vehicle charging options, and installing publicly accessible charging stations, respectively.

Drivers and passengers of electric vehicles must stay in the parking lot during the charging process. The new rule still prevents them "from sitting on benches, use of playgrounds, and use of other park amenities," according to the draft ordinance.

"It limits access to a maximum of two consecutive hours," Pringle said. "Every vehicle charges differently, but it shouldn't take more than two hours for a vehicle to fully charge at one of these stations."

Provided by Valta Energy through a zero-cost licensing agreement, four universal direct current fast charging stations will be installed in each of the two parks' parking lots. Pringle announced at the meeting that the charging stations will go online between May and July 2024.

He added that patrolling police officers will be able to easily identify those who are actively charging their vehicles through lights on the charging stations. The station lights up blue on top when a vehicle is being charged and green to indicate availability.

The cleaned-up ordinance received swift support from all City Council members.

"The easiest 'second' I've ever made," Councilmember Michelle Shoresman said in response to supporting the motion. Δ

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