By Jessica Doherty
The South Pasadena City Council voted on several resolutions at the Nov. 15 meeting, many of which pertained to vehicle and pedestrian traffic in the city.
The council approved new partnerships with ChargePoint and Southern California Edison for electric vehicle charging stations. Two ChargePoint stations could soon be installed at the City Storage Yard with Rexel Energy Solutions for public works vehicles. Public Works Director Ted Gerber presented a recommendation and staff report to the City Council about the two projects.
Gerber said that a previous project, a plan to bring 12 charging stations to Arroyo Park and ADA improvements and parking, has been revised and scaled back to two chargers at the compressed natural gas yard for medium-to-heavy-duty use public works vehicles for $30,000. Meanwhile, Council also discussed its participation in the Southern California Edison Charge Ready Transport Program. SCE would “put tens of thousands [of dollars] into the infrastructure if they can charge us the rates for the energy that they are using and that we will commit to using it for 10 years,” Gerber said.
He added that, if not for this partnership, the city would end up needing to fund additional chargers themselves at a higher cost if they owned the electrical distribution equipment, in addition to the charger pieces themselves. “We either do this ourselves or partner with [SCE],” he said. “We believe it is much more efficient [and] cost-effective to do it with [SCE].”
This will be a part of the larger transition to electric vehicles for the Public Works Department and California at large — by 2035, the state will ban the sales of new gas vehicles. Over the next 10 years, the department will buy three more medium-to-heavy-duty use public works vehicles in addition to the Ford F150 and transit bus they purchased this year. These new chargers will also service police and detective cars.
Councilwoman Evelyn Zneimer expressed concern about the length of the contract with SCE, given the rapid rate of change in electric vehicle technology, but Councilman Michael Cacciotti said that ChargePoint is one of the largest manufacturers of the chargers behind Tesla. He added that, if Advanced Clean Fleet passes, South Pasadena would have no choice but to be prepared to transition to electric vehicles.
Despite his support, Cacciotti voiced concerns about the safety of the chargers and vehicles at the site, which were also a concern for the cancelled Arroyo Park project. Furthermore, the CNG Yard is currently only available to city workers, not the general public, under the item’s current language. City Attorney Roxanne Diaz said SCE would have to provide either revised content or additional context subject to the city manager’s approval before proceeding.
Despite these concerns, the Council voted to move forward with the plan.
TRAFFIC AND SAFETY
The California Office of Traffic Safety has awarded South Pasadena a grant for Strategic Traffic Enforcement. The City Council moved forward with a resolution that will allocate $47,000 of the $55,000 grant award to be appropriated for DUI checkpoints. This comes after a tumultuous year of hit-and-runs at crosswalks and hopes for other street improvements.
The Council also approved $28,000 of California State Funding from the Officer Wellness and Mental Health Grant program to be used for police department wellness programs and activities.
AMENDED EVICTION ORDINANCE PASSES
At the previous City Council meeting, the panel moved forward with amending the Just Cause For Eviction ordinance that will help close loopholes and concerns related to “substantial remodel” evictions. The second reading and adoption of this ordinance passed as part of the meeting’s consent calendar.
CITIES PUSH TO IMPROVE METRO SECURITY
During the general open communications section among councilmembers, Cacciotti said he and officials from other cities are pushing for greater security at Metro stations. Mayor Jon Primuth also said that he has pushed for cities to join together to call for an internal agency to address the concerns. South Pasadena is home to Mission Station, part of Metro’s Gold Line located at Mission Street and Meridian Avenue.
First published in the December 1 print issue of the South Pasadena Review.