How Los Angeles is about to make it easier to drive electric cars, maybe
People who live next to freeways in Los Angeles have long been concerned about the health risks of living next to all that exhaust, not least because the Lung Association lists Los Angeles as the #1 most ozone-polluted city in the US, and gives Los Angeles air an F grade.
Electric vehicles would help because they produce zero tailpipe emissions, and they mostly use regenerative braking (thus producing less brake dust).
They’re already cheaper to drive, by quite a bit, and they’re coming down in price so quickly that they’re expected to be cheaper to buy than gasoline-powered cars by about 2024 or 2025.
And they’re far more fun to drive. According to Dan Neil (Pulitzer Prize winning automotive columnist for the LA Times from 2003 to 2010), in a few years, the resale value of gasoline-powered cars will plummet because nobody will want to drive them anymore.
In a few years, if everybody gets an electric car when their current gas one wears out, problem solved!
But there’s just one catch: most people in Los Angeles rent, apartment garages don’t tend to have anywhere to plug in an electric car at night, retrofitting parking spaces to have plugs for electric cars can cost as much as $7000. And that means most renters simply can’t switch to an electric car.
Happily, it only costs about $280 to add EV capability to a new parking space while building it. We’re in the middle of a building boom. Potentially, all new parking spots could be made EV capable for not much money… saving thousands of dollars later.
The city plan for implementing Koretz’s motion is currently rather anemic; it only plans to make a quarter of new parking spots EV capable. That’s a wasted opportunity.
Low EV capability creates an obstacle to reducing freeway pollution. Let’s aim for 100%, as West Hollywood, Oakland, and San Francisco do.
Submit a “Community Impact Statement” (CIS) to SUPPORT City Council File 17-0309 IF AMENDED to require all new parking be EV capable
Four Neighborhood Councils have already done this!
Click to see a sample CIS your Council could use
For more info, see electrifyla.org,
or tweet @Electrify_LA
Copyright © 2019 Dan Kegel
Here’s some background, and details about the current situation.
Since at least 2000, when a group named “Boyle Heights Mejoramiento” was formed to fight freeway pollution in Boyle Heights, people have been worried about health impacts in communities adjacent to busy freeways in Los Angeles. Grassroots efforts eventually culminated in the “Clean Up Green Up“ initiative, introduced in the City Council in 2011, co-sponsored by City Councilman Huizar.
This resulted in new regulations approved in 2015 that required homes near freeways to be equipped with air filters, but it took no action to reduce freeway pollution at its source, saying “little could be effectuated to regulate mobile sources”.
Back in March 2017, the LA Times reported “thousands of new homes had been approved within 1000 feet of a freeway, despite clear warnings from scientists of health risks… a poster from USC at the time said living new busy roads puts health at risk by, for instance, increasing the following risks:
LA City Councilman Huizar, stung by the criticism, introduced a motion to highlight and address the problem.
This time, he wasn’t inclined to take “no” for an answer on reducing freeway pollution. In part, Huizar’s motion urged the city to
“consider strategies to reduce automobile and truck pollution, which is the root source of freeway pollution, including shifting to electric vehicles… [while considering] the competing concerns of our current housing affordability crisis“
While the planning department was considering, the news got worse. Late in 2017, UCLA discovered that “Freeway pollution travels farther than we thought”… raising the alarm about the health hazards of living near freeways.
In July 2018, city staff came back with proposals including a building code requirement … requiring that parking areas include the installation of electric vehicle charging stations for 5% of the total parking stalls and that 20% of the parking stalls be readily adaptable for the future installation of a charging station.
The proposal was approved, and the Department of Building and Safety is now preparing a draft ordinance. The draft ordinance will then return to the City Council’s PLUM committee, and then be voted on by the full city council.
It’s up to you. Let the City know this is important to you.
Let’s write clean air history together!