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Council approves rollout of curbside EV chargers

The City Council this week approved a measure under which the city will hire two companies to install 250 chargers along Boston streets to let people without their own driveways top up their battery-powered cars.

Mayor Wu has pushed for the program because in a city of renters and condo dwellers, many people who might otherwise go green can't because they have no easy way to charge their cars, even with the addition of chargers to municipal parking lots over the past couple of years. The city now has a total of 1,000 Level 2 chargers, but many are in private lots or garages and tend to be concentrated downtown,

In her request for council action, Wu said two vendors would install the units over a two-year period and then maintain them for up to ten years at no cost to the city. City Councilor Brian Worrell (Dorchester), who urged his colleagues to approve the measure, said that the city would hold hearings on every single one of the charging locations - which have yet to be specifically identified - to give nearby residents a say. He added that the companies would not be allowed to use the chargers as ad platforms.

The council voted 12-1 to let the city finalize contracts with two vendors and begin to identify potential charging locations.

Councilor Ed Flynn (South Boston, South End, Chinatown, Downtown) cast the lone no vote.

Flynn said he would vote no because only a handful of councilors showed up at a hearing Worrell held on the proposal on Tuesday and he thinks the matter should stay in committee until more of his colleagues can show up and learn more about the issue.

"It's a complicated issue," he said, adding he himself is not yet convinced the program will have no costs for the city and that, especially as a district councilor, he has concerns about issues such as the removal of regular parking spaces and access for people with mobility issues.

That brought exasperation from Councilor Julia Mejia (at large), who noted that just a month earlier, Flynn had demanded - and got - an immediate vote on a federal public-safety grant even though the council's four newest members, elected in November, had not had a chance to attend a hearing and learn more about the matter.

Councilors, she said, really need to be consistent in how they vote, she said. "We keep going back and forth," on which issues get quick action and which are sent back to committees for further study. "I really would appreciate a little bit more consistency in terms of how we're picking and choosing which battles we're going to fight."

Watch the hearing:

PDF icon evcharging-order.pdf80.12 KB


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The price point of EV cars is way higher than the average working class person can pay. Working class people benefit more from better transit, walking, and biking infrastructure. Good luck getting a bus or bike lane on a street with EV charging. Another give away to the automobile.

Voting closed 52

These chargers cost money to use, yes? I see no mention of the City getting any of that money for this use of its streets. That doesn't make sense to me. Electric cars are undoubtedly a relative benefit, compared to fossil-powered ones, but they still impose a burden on the City. At least tax theses things.

Voting closed 26

The mayor's request mentions the possibility of revenue sharing.

Voting closed 14

The used EV market is full of affordable cars, particularly with the used EV tax credits for people with lower incomes. The credits are worth up to $8000, bringing many of these cars below $15000 for buyers.

People are going to drive, even people with lower incomes since rents are more affordable in areas with lousy public transportation. I’m all for fixing that, but that doesn’t mean we shouldn’t also try to encourage people to switch to PHEV or EVs to reduce emissions on the ground.

Voting closed 19

Yes. It could be characterized, thus.

Voting closed 9

A lot remains to be determined. How do we decide who will squat on these precious resources? Property owners who have lived here the longest, most aggressive space-saver deployers, extremely online 311 reporters?

Let the games begin!

Voting closed 67

This won't make traffic congestion any worse than the crisis and national embarrassment level that it is now. Right?

Voting closed 23

I'm fine with it

Voting closed 12

Forgive me for my brain's file cabinet of random memories that I retain, but for some reason there was a scene of Larry David in a car that ran out of charging juice in the middle of a narrow way in a sandy marsh through the Vineyard during the height of tourist season. He couldn't go anywhere. Nobody could. Hehheh. Larry.

Voting closed 11

Does she need my barrette?

Voting closed 3

I hope it goes better than the Bicycle pumps installed at bridges. They tended to get wrecked not long after being installed. There's one on the bridge going over the commuter rail tracks on Moton Street.

Voting closed 5