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.
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