L.A.’s Electric Vehicle/ Mass Transit Experiment

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photo: Wikimedia Commons

The County Metropolitan Transit Authority (Metro) of  the City of Los Angeles is partnering with EV Connect to bring a large scale roll out of electric vehicle charging stations at strategic locations throughout the city’s transit network.

The pilot program will assess the viability and appeal of integrating electric vehicle charging into a mass transit network. Patrons will be able to leave an electric vehicle at a charging station, and then continue their commute on transit. The partnership will monitor and study the program to create benchmarks for a potential “charge and ride” transportation industry.

The pilot will help Metro move toward its sustainability goals for regional transit. See other environmental initiatives of Metro here.

Read a full story from the Kansas Star on the new program here.

San Francisco Finds Parking…On the Web

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photo: Cawi2001

These are the days of traffic snarls, extended rush hours, bridge toll increases and scarce parking in many areas of the city.

However, there are some San Franciscans besides cyclists and public transit boosters taking matters into their own hands. I am talking about parking space brokers.

Its no surprise that established garages should have an online presence; many people opt to park in such lots everyday to go to work, so it’s nearly a given that such lots will allow reservations and payments via the web. But you can also arrange a ready space in a random private driveway, church parking lot or off-hour establishment.

Gottapark has been around for several years, bringing  the “haves” of parking together with the “have-nots”. Anyone will a parking space to rent, or a parking hopeful looking for a spot can log on and make a match.

Then there is ParkingCarma, a similar service that ups the ante by providing “real-time” monitoring for parking sites with high-tech gadgets. The company states in its online profile: “ParkingCarma is pioneering new ground by using technology to improve quality of life and the environment, while solving one of today’s largest metropolitan issues: Parking. SmartParking is the application of information technology to improve parking, thereby mitigating the environmental impact of vehicles.”

Um, okay.  I’ll go along with quality of life thing, but I doubt if lack of parking is the biggest environmental impact of vehicles.

But on further examination of the ParkingCarma site, they do make some persuasive points. Namely, pre-arranged parking could help ease traffic congestion and prevent people from driving around and around aimlessly looking for a spot- which would of course help to curtail greenhouse gas emissions. This model also is predicated upon the activation of under-utilized space, potentially preventing the need for (as many) new parking structures.

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