In a great example of a good start, Ann Arbor’s city council passed a resolution earlier this month identifying additional ways to prepare the city’s infrastructure to support plug-in electric vehicles. The resolution calls on city staff to review permit and planning processes, as well as zoning codes, to remove barriers to creating plug-in infrastructure.
The resolution also directs the city’s administrator to consider adding plug-in vehicles to the city’s fleet.
Those measures have been key policy proposals of the Built by Michigan coalition, founded in part by the Ecology Center.
“We’ve long believed that local units of government can make a big difference in putting some momentum behind the electric vehicle industry with some sensible and low-cost policy decisions,” according to Charles Griffith, climate and energy programs director at the Ecology Center. “So we’re glad to see that Ann Arbor has joined some of the other cities in the state--like Auburn Hills, Grand Rapids and Kalamazoo--that have been making progress in this effort.”
In a letter supporting the Ann Arbor council’s resolution, Wayne Appleyard, an architect and volunteer chair of the city’s energy commission, cited Michigan’s “Plug-In Readiness Plan,” which the Ecology Center worked on along with the Clean Energy Coalition and other partners across the state.
The Plan includes a toolkit to help municipalities implement best practices and adopt model municipal policies, planning and zoning language.
“Ann Arbor already has a good head start with recent efforts by the Downtown Development Authority to install charging stations in city parking structures,” Griffith said. “Those charging stations have already seen heavy use since their installation last year—a case of if you build it, they will come.”
In one location, plug-in vehicle drivers have actually created a users group and a parking schedule so that multiple drivers can cooperatively charge each day.
“We hope Ann Arbor’s example will encourage other local municipalities to support this industry that has so much promise for Michigan’s environment, Michigan’s economy and Michigan’s workers,” Griffith said. “Let’s hope they’re getting the message in Lansing too. We need support both at the municipal and state level to make sure the whole state is plug-in ready.”
EcoLink — March 2013 Ecolink
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