Santa Monica Adopts Free Parking Ordinance for NEVs

4 years ago by Eric Loveday 2

Free Parking For Some NEVs

Free Parking For Some NEVs

The city of Santa Monican, California has adopted a rather controversial ordinance that allows certain neighborhood electric vehicle (NEV) owners to park for free.

A Typical NEV

A Typical NEV

Note: This article only refers to NEVs.  Standard electric vehicle are already afforded free parking in Santa Monica.

According to the Santa Monica Mirror, here’s how this NEV free parking scheme works:

“If you are the owner of a Neighborhood Electric Vehicle (NEV) with a specific color decal or before a certain date, then you may be entitled to free metered parking within Santa Monica city limits.”

“Council members adopted an ordinance Oct. 8 allowing some NEVs with certain state-issued decals to park at any of the City’s meters free of charge. Specifically, NEVs with green or white state-issued decals that expire in 2019 are exempt from depositing funds into a parking meter in Santa Monica.”

“Also exempt are NEVs with the original yellow clean air vehicle decals that expired in 2011. All other NEVs must pay for metered parking within Santa Monica.”

We’re not sure why Santa Monica would choose to allows some NEVs to park for free, while others will be required to pump quarters into the meters.

Here’s how the Santa Monica Mirror reports on the NEVs that will have to pay to park:

According to City staff, the ordinance “would immediately affect vehicles with the expired yellow and neighborhood electric vehicle (NEV) clean air decals, as those decals expired on July 1, 2011.”

“These vehicles, along with vehicles that display the valid and current white and green decals, would receive free parking at on-street parking meters,” City staff continued. “This proposed change would continue the incentive for early adopters of clean air technology and further the goals of the Sustainable City Plan by providing free parking at street meters for vehicles displaying clean air decals.”

Okay, so the ordinance is beneficial to some, but not all, NEV owners.  It seems overly complicated to us and perhaps should be trimmed down to something along the lines of “all NEVs park for free.”

This sort of thing seems to happen all too often though.  By this, I mean that when council/government try to enact a law to the benefit of EV owners, the actual end result only hurts the segment as a whole.  This preferential free parking treatment is an example of that.  Santa Monica is trying to reward early adopters for choosing this technology, but at the same time the free parking benefit is often frowned upon by say ICE owners who see EVs as getting unfair positive treatment.

EV/NEV owners don’t need free parking.  Free charging is a plus, but free parking is not what we need.

Source: Santa Monica Mirror

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2 responses to "Santa Monica Adopts Free Parking Ordinance for NEVs"

  1. Anon says:

    Gonna guess that Santa Monica makes money on selling updated clean air decals?

  2. Gary H says:

    I disagree with the angle of this article and I think the reasons are based on practicality and policy.
    1. Why limit to certain NEVs? Basically, I think the reasoning is that if it’s good enough for the State DMV, then it’s good enough for the City. It is a clear, fast, enforceable way to apply the policy (think of what a meter maid is supposed to do – look up every one-off and home-grown NEV that’s out there? That would take far too much time and effort.) I do not expect municipal governments to have staff resources to devote to continual research, so it’s more efficient for them to hand it off to someone who does – the DMV.
    2. Why free parking? Consider what resources a city, as opposed to a State government, or the federal government, controls and what incentives it can offer. Parking is something the City controls directly, and it already has the systems and operations set up to manage parking, so this is an efficient way for the City to entice adoption of electric vehicles. Adding parking as a perk contributes to an overall benefits package to a NEV owner (and remember, EV owners too) that is worth more than the sum of its parts. Think of all the little reasons/excuses people use to avoid investing in an EV. This, and many other little perks, helps to break down those mental barriers.