“Plug NYC” Brings Electric Vehicle Charging to the Slope

As part of its “80×50” program—whose goal is to reduce green- house gas emissions 80% by the year 2050—the City of New York has embarked on an ambitious program to encourage electric vehicle ownership and to build the technology infrastructure to support it. In June 2021, the Department of Transportation launched  “PlugNYC,” a program of Electric Vehicle (EV) charging stations spread across the five boroughs, including 120 curbside stations serving parked cars as well as higher voltage stations in certain city owned parking lots.  

Increasing the availability of charging stations is key to making  electric vehicles a viable option for New Yorkers. Park Slope residents considering an EV purchase will be pleased to learn that one of the first curbside stations in the city is at 99 Prospect Park West,  between 5th and 6th Streets. The station serves two parking spaces on a first-come, first-served basis.  

The station provides “Level 2” charging, using 240-volt power,  that provides a full charge for most cars in between 4 and 8 hours. That’s more than four times the charging rate of plugging into regular 120-volt household power. The stations use so-called “J plugs,” which are compatible with nearly every electric vehicle in  the market, and Tesla cars use an adapter that is included with every Tesla purchase.  

Only electric vehicles using the charging station are allowed to  park in those two spots. Like the Citi Bike program, you can search in advance to see if space is available and find alternate sites if your closest station is occupied. Payment is by smartphone, tap card, or  on the program’s website. Non-electric vehicles taking up the dedicated parking spaces will be ticketed.  

The program, which is run in partnership with Con Edison and FLO, a Canadian electric-vehicle charging company, is also installing faster, higher power “Level 3” charging stations in a limited number of city-owned parking garages around the city, but so far there are none in or near Park Slope.  

Consistent with the Civic Council’s long standing support of congestion pricing and protected bike lanes, we are encouraged by the growth of electric vehicles as a viable option for car ownership and by the City’s program to provide the needed charging infrastructure. At the same time, we recognize that controversies will arise whenever previously unrestricted curb space is redirected to dedicated uses such as EV charging or Zipcars or Loading Zones, or to non-vehicular uses altogether such as Open Streets, Open Restaurants and Open Learning.

A second charging station was recently installed on 8th Street between 6th and 7th Avenues.

As part of our mission to improve community life, the Park Slope Civic Council looks forward to further conversations on the current and future use of our neighborhood streets and sidewalks.

Learn more about PlugNYC, including a complete list of NYC charging stations, here.

Written by Kenneth Stevens, Livable Streets Chair

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