Northwest Bronx to test streetside electric car charging spots

In an effort to spark environmental action, the NYC Department of Transportation will be siting at least 50 curbside electric vehicle chargers across the five boroughs, including several in Kingsbridge, Woodlawn and Morris Heights in addition to other parts of the borough.

The four-year pilot program, which is anticipated to start in the spring of 2020 would dedicate public parking spaces in certain areas specifically for electric vehicles, providing two charging ports per space, according to the DOT.

These level two chargers will fully juice up an electric vehicle in four to eight hours and are being done in a partnership with Con Edison, the agency said.

NYS Department of Motor Vehicles registration records show that only 476 Bronx registered vehicles are of the electric variety compared to Queens, which has 3,117.

“I see why they would put the charging stations in the north end of the borough,” said Community Board 12 district manager George Torres, whose Woodlawn portion of CB12 is participating in the pilot program.

“It makes sense for cars coming from Westchester to have a space as soon as they get in the city to charge,” he continued.

Torres’ sentiment comes in part from the 4,620 registered electric vehicles in Westchester that could cross into the borough on any give day.

“We have no objection to it honestly,” he said, pointing out that most of CB 12’s residents live in one- or two-family homes that would likely charge their electric vehicles in their own garages rather than on the street.

Previously, the FDNY rolled out a similar program for its ambulances to charge up without running its engines on East 233rd Street, which Torres said CB 12 unanimously supported.

No specific streets have been determined yet for the pilot plan yet, though the DOT invited city residents to place suggestions to roll out the program online for some months.

Other areas recommended by the public to the DOT in the Bronx were: Mott Haven near Bruckner Boulevard, Lafayette Avenue in Hunts Point, East 163rd Street in Melrose, Story Avenue in Soundview, Arthur and Crescent avenues in Belmont, in addition to parking lots at Bronx Community College, Orchard Beach and the Mall at Bay Plaza.

“It’s likely going to be put in commercial corridors and we haven’t heard much concern from businesses within our district,” he said.

As far as Woodlawn goes, the charging stations would likely be placed on Katonah Avenue, according to the DOT’s recommended map. Other indicators on that map suggest that much of the pilot program will be next to Metro North stations along the Hudson line like Spuyten Duyvil and Marble Hill in addition to streets and parking lots in and around Van Courtlandt Park.

Will non-charging vehicles be excluded from parking in one of the spaces set up with electric chargers? Torres, who hasn’t been provided all the details yet, is awaiting an answer to that question.

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