Possible West Seattle site for public fast-charging station for electric vehicles discussed @ West Seattle Transportation Coalition

By Tracy Record
West Seattle Blog editor

The city wants to know what you think about locating one of its future public fast-charging stations at Don Armeni Boat Ramp in West Seattle.

That was the bottom line when Victor Couto and Jacob Orenberg from Seattle City Light‘s “Customer Energy Solutions” group visited the West Seattle Transportation Coalition‘s meeting last week.

They noted that the city “has multiple departments working to increase electric-vehicle ridership.” Transportation is responsible for two-thirds of Seattle’s carbon emissions, compared to 26 percent in the rest of the country, so tackling this can make a huge difference. The city hope to own and operate 20 public DC fast-chargers, and install 200 (slower) residential chargers.

For those who aren’t electric-vehicle experts, they explained the difference:

A home charger, Level 1, might take up to 21 hours for a charge that’ll last you up to 100 miles, costing about $4. The DC fast charger would only take half an hour but would cost you a little over triple that ($13+). A new Nissan Leaf costing about $30,000 will have a range of about 131 miles before the next charge is needed.

They estimate that in the 2020s “EVs will cost the same as a gas car.” But, the SCL duo pointed out, you don’t have to own an electric vehicle to drive one – ReachNow has electric vehicles available, for example.

Back to the fast chargers: The public stations will be curbside and in-street only, in spots reserved for electric vehicles. 15 sites will be distributed throughout SCL’s service area (which stretches outside Seattle). Currently there’s only one DC fast-charger in West Seattle, at South Seattle College (WSB sponsor) – privately owned (Eluminocity). There’s also a possible charging station under consideration just off the WS Bridge at the City Light 4th Avenue S. yard.

Site requirements for a public station: Safety, visibility, easy access for drivers, adequate electrical service, adequate civil inrastructure space. If curbside, there are some additional technical requirements.

Potential sites in West Seattle: The city analyzed four areas and threw out three.

Don Armeni Boat Ramp seems feasible for 2 DC fast chargers, the SCL duo said, and asked what WSTC thought.

Board member Victoria Nelson wondered how turnover would be facilitated. Parking in the space is limited to one hour, SCL said. As for what you would do while your car charges – they acknowledged that Don Armeni doesn’t have many amenities nearby (yet – though Harbor Ave has some redevelopment under way and pending). WSTC chair Michael Taylor-Judd wondered if the siting goals were on target – for example, why would it be important to put a fast charger “near public transit options”? SCL explained that they expect “ride-sharing” companies to convert to electric vehicles and so they would likely be picking up and dropping off people at charging stations – people who might take public transit to or from where they met up with the drivers.

What about Westwood Village? asked WSTC board member Chas Redmond.

Reply: They’re looking at sites in Tukwila and Burien too, as well as a few in the north.

SCL said that they’re not necessarily looking to site these where there already are heavy concentrations of EVs – they are looking to inspire more people to think they are a possibility.

WSTC’s Deb Barker – who’s also the president of Morgan Community Association – wondered if the right-of-way between Morgan Junction Park and its landbanked expansion site to the north might have potential.

The SCL team said they’re also interested in hearing about potential amenities that could be sited near DC fast chargers – cell phone chargers? Food trucks? Also, they’ll be talking to other neighborhoods in the month ahead.

Concerns raised by WSTC members included getting to Don Armeni on summer nights when Harbor Avenue is jammed.

Other possible sites suggested included Dakota Place Park on the north edge of The Junction.

More info on the public-charging program is here; the right sidebar of that page also has an e-mail address for questions/comments.

FEET FIRST LIGHT-RAIL-STATION-SITE WALKING-TOUR RECAP: Last month’s walking tour started with more than 50 people, said WSTC board members who participated. With feedback that more would have liked to participate if not for the 4:30-6:30 pm weekday time period, WSTC pitched Feet First on an encore, maybe on a weekend. Nothing set yet.

Discussion of the tour included considerable talk about encountering community members who hadn’t heard anything about the West Seattle light-rail project and wondering how they can be brought into the process. Also discussed, the value of discussing theoretical aspects of the light-rail route and imagining what it would look like while you’re standing on the potential future site. They thought the participation by political leaders created some momentum for a sequel. That led to some discussion including whether there’s a way to get ferry commuters off the West Seattle Bridge – a parking garage, maybe?

NEW WSTC BOARD MEMBER: David Hancock was voted in.

FIFTH THURSDAY NEXT MONTH: WSTC will meet on November 29th next month, and that’ll be the last meeting of the year. 6:30 pm at Neighborhood House High Point (6400 Sylvan Way SW) as usual.

24 Replies to "Possible West Seattle site for public fast-charging station for electric vehicles discussed @ West Seattle Transportation Coalition"

  • 56bricks November 1, 2018 (6:50 pm)

    Please excuse my ignorance but do folks pay for charging at public charging stations?

    • WSB November 1, 2018 (7:24 pm)

      Yes. See paragraph 5.

  • 56bricks November 1, 2018 (8:11 pm)

    Sorry,I’ll try to have my glasses on next time. 

  • Brion Lion November 1, 2018 (8:19 pm)

    The city does not offer it for free but some chargepoint stations offer free charging according to their website.

    • WSB November 1, 2018 (8:47 pm)

      They were clear that this wouldn’t be free. Note that the story also mentions a privately owned charging station already at SSC – but no details such as price.

      • beef November 2, 2018 (9:08 am)

        Lvl 2 (240V – 100 miles in about 3-4hrs) chargers are currently free at SSC. Lvl 3 (DC-Quick Charge) is currently $2.50 + $0.10/min. There is also a quick charger down at the SSC Georgetown Campus as well.The SSC chargers at the main location are gated off during the weekend.

        • beef November 2, 2018 (9:30 am)

          Also, the City fast charger on Beacon Hill is $0.43 kW/h.  My 2013 leaf would cost about about $8-9 to go from mostly empty to mostly full. It’s not that unreasonable if I need that range quickly.Hopefully the residential chargers are level 2 and not level 1. Most EVs already come with a level 1 charger that plugs into your normal outlet. the level 2 chargers need an outlet like you use for you stove or dryer.

  • Brenda November 1, 2018 (8:51 pm)

    Charging at Don Armeni makes no sense. I’ve had an EV for 5 years. If I’m going to use a public charger it is going to be at a place I can do something while it’s charging ie. Grocery shopping, going to the gym, getting dinner. I’m not going to spend $13 to sit in my car for 30 min and eat food from a food truck in a parking lot that is not central to West Seattle. This needs rethinking.

  • Kalo November 1, 2018 (9:00 pm)

    The stations would be curb side?  Oh, goodie! More “special” parking in an area that already has limited parking, especially with the water taxi and on any given nice day. Why Don Armeni? How about down by the 7-11 if it has to be on Harbor Ave

  • Blbl November 1, 2018 (9:33 pm)

    That’s too expensive. There is no reason a municipality needs to charge for these. If public, they should be free, and they are free in many other cities.  $13 for 131 miles is not even a good deal.  So they are going to take street parking away from the majority of drivers and allow only the few who can afford an EV to park there, then they’re going to make money off them? What a scam. 

  • Blbl November 1, 2018 (9:41 pm)

    The private charging station at South Seattle College charges $10 per hour for DC fast.  So wow.  That’s less than half what the city is proposing here. 

  • chemist November 1, 2018 (11:44 pm)

    I have some suggested curbside-ish spaces in the heart of the junction activity and near an electrical vault….  put it on 39th between Alaska and Oregon, where they’re already planning to add handicap spaces and make 4 hr parking, etc.  A couple of electric vehicle charging spots and plenty of places to spend a half hour.  I’m not sure why they seemingly studied junction parking lots (which are apparently scheduled for development) instead of the curbs of street parking.

    • KM November 2, 2018 (9:40 am)

      This makes way more sense than Don Armeni. It really should be in a commercial core.

  • Kayo November 2, 2018 (6:42 am)

    This location needs to be rethought.  Ideally it would be somewhere that you could plug in and go get groceries or run other errands like Westwood Village or the Junction.  Having it somewhere public will also make it feel more secure, especially at night when sitting in a car in the dark while it charges can feel a bit exposed.  

  • Michael Taylor-Judd November 2, 2018 (9:03 am)

    To repeat, no one thought Don Armeni was a great location to access activities nearby. As was explained in the article above, they are considering that spot as a place where electric ride share vehicles might be parked by folks coming to and from the Water Taxi…. We also talked about areas near grocery stores, the dog park, and other types of facilities where someone would go and park for about an hour while completing shopping or recreation. They are looking for multiple location ideas, and were clear that more than one could be sited in our area if feasible.

  • KM November 2, 2018 (9:38 am)

    Any update on the currently in progress WS greenway construction timezone? They haven’t released a construction notice since May 2018, and I haven’t seen any work along the route in a couple months.

  • wetone November 2, 2018 (12:29 pm)

    Taking away more prime parking from area shorted already. These spots are very useful for those that have mobility issues, making it much easier to access area. If boat ramp area is really needed then put charging area facing Harbor ave.   Better chance of charging spots not being abused. I guess it would make great spot for city workers to have lunch or breaks and charge their work vehicles…..   Either way it’s a very poor choice and shows little common sense. How about under WS expressway, lots of unused parking in that area. Take a book to read and charge away…

  • AliAlki November 2, 2018 (1:00 pm)

    Hmmm interesting I live in Alki and I see a lot of people who drive to this area from other places in the city/region and do some recreational activity for about an hour then leave. The price does seem a high but maybe they would be willing to pay a premium to charge while they run/kayak/blade/bike? I also believe I’ve seen ReachNow BMW i3’s parked along there when I am coming and going to the Water Taxi most days. How you’d keep the ride share vehicles from hogging the space all day though I have no idea though. 

    • CAM November 3, 2018 (1:12 pm)

      It’s my understanding that Tesla superchargers will penalize owners who leave their vehicle plugged in past the time the charge was complete by charging them per minute after a certain period of time passes. If we are putting these charging stations out as a public utility I’d really like to see SCL and the city put something similar in place to ensure that the service remains useful and available to all. 

  • Paul Hage November 2, 2018 (1:05 pm)

    Taking precious parking spaces from Don Armeni is absurd and inconsistent with being near other amenities.

  • West Seattle Steve November 3, 2018 (9:52 am)

    The article doesn’t mention that most home chargers are Level 2, and will fully charge a vehicle in around 6 hours. Since the battery charges much faster when it’s low, even a 20 minute charge on a level 2 charger can be enough to make sure you can make it home to your home charger. As EVs become more popular, we will need some increase in public charger availability, but since most will charge at home and work, it won’t need to go up at the same rate as EV adoption. What we will need is fast chargers along the highway, which isn’t a city problem so much. People will need to stop and charge for about a half hour on a fast charger, which can be good business for roadside shopping centers and restaurants. I suspect that the market will help solve that problem.

  • Fairness Advocate November 4, 2018 (8:15 am)

    $13 of gas gets me 150 miles.  Just saying’  Of course 1631 will change all of that.  So wouldn’t you think there would be some money in that billion dollar initiative (which I am voting ‘yes’ on for the record)  to actually ENTICE people to get EV’s?  Also known as they can be found in many places.   I would NOT expect free electrical charging stations, but having the city make money off of the stations for our ‘so-called’ convenience and benefit is preposterous.   Anyone?

    • bolo November 4, 2018 (8:14 pm)

      Not to extract extra profits but to help pay for the construction and maintenance of the charging stations.

  • Amy Thomson November 5, 2018 (11:57 am)

    I drive a Prius Prime, with 25 miles of range.  I’ve owned it for about a year and a half, so I have some experience with charging stations.  I have a Level 2 charger at home, where I do about 80% of my charging.  Because my car has such a short range, I use the public chargers a fair bit.  My experience with public chargers is that they need to be near (2-3 blocks, max) SOMETHING useful.  A Starbucks or other coffee shop, is nice, restaurants are good.  Shopping centers are fabulous!  My experience in West Seattle is that the charging stations Whittaker are the most convenient, but I’d love to see one in the basement parking of Jefferson Square.  The Admiralty area could really use a publically available set of chargers, maybe up on top of the Safeway lot.  Westwood Village would also be a really great place for a charger.  A charger closer to Alki Beach would be great, but putting one in the Don Armeni lot would be too remote.  Another great spot would be in the park and ride lot under the viaduct on Spokane Street.One thing I’ve noticed about charging stations is that they are often put in lesser used, more inconvenient parking spots, because EV owners are willing to put up with a little inconvenience for a charge.Lastly, I will say that $13.00 an hour seems really steep.  I rarely pay more than $5 bucks for a charge!

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