Mayor Wu announces steps to expand availability of electric vehicle charging stations in Boston
Mayor Michelle Wu today announced two opportunities to help increase the availability of publicly accessible electric vehicle (EV) charging stations. Through the release of two Requests for Proposals (RFP), the City is seeking to evaluate the market for businesses to partner with Boston to bolster the number of public, curbside charging stations equitably distributed Citywide for individuals without driveways. While the City continues to build EV charging stations in municipal parking lots, the demand for public access chargers is much greater than what can be provided from off-street publicly owned parking lot locations alone. Through the RFPs, the City will examine how the private market can supplement the City’s stock with creating accessible public charging as well as contracting with partners to install and service city-owned chargers.
“With rapidly advancing technology and subsidies from federal and state sources, electric vehicles can be affordable for families looking for a cleaner, greener alternative, but we must develop the public charging infrastructure to ensure accessibility across all our communities,” said Mayor Michelle Wu. “As we work to improve multimodal transportation access across walking, biking, and public transit, we also strive to make the transition to electric vehicles possible and create jobs building the infrastructure necessary for our city.”
“We know that to eliminate climate change and environmental pollution residents, commuters and visitors cannot rely on personal vehicles, but if they need a car it should be electric,” said Green New Deal Director Oliver Sellers-Garcia. “As we implement a Green New Deal for Boston, we are looking for ways to make the inevitable EV transition work best for our city. We’re focusing on strategies that address the needs of drivers who can’t charge at home, and we’re seeking to create a market that can bring more workers into the business of decarbonization.”
“As we continue to make changes to our streets to better serve all modes of transportation, we also want to make it more viable to choose to drive electric by supporting the expansion of charging infrastructure at the curb and in our municipal lots,” said Jascha Franklin-Hodge, Chief of Streets. “These investments will create a more accessible and equitable charging network which will expand the options our residents have in how they choose to travel.”
Through this RFP, the City will examine how the private market can support in making public charging accessible. The City is seeking proposals that increase curbside chargers equitably in the public right-of-way – along city sidewalks – at no cost to the City. If awarded, the City will provide the curb space for free to the contractor.
To complement the public-private model, the City also seeks to expand City-owned EV chargers beyond municipal lots. The City is looking to contract with a partner to install and service City-owned charging stations on curb sides in the right-of-way.
Proposals for each request are due by July 26, 2023. The City’s goal is to ensure that every household is within a 10 minute walk of a publicly accessible EV charger by 2030.
To supplement these electric vehicle charging efforts, the City is taking a number of other steps to increase access and availability to charging stations. The City’s investment in EV charging equipment has increased with the FiscalYear 2024 budget for the Streets Cabinet including an additional $700,000 in funds for EVs, bringing the total amount to $1.35 million. The City is also currently working with Eversource through the Make Ready program to install 16 LV II charging ports and 8 DCFC ports in municipal parking lots. The goal is to have these installed in 6-12 months.
The City is also installing projects for curbside charging at 15 sites. Each site will contain a minimum of 4 LV II charging ports, for a total minimum of 60 LV II charging ports. The goal is to have these installed and operational within 6-12 months. The City also applied for CFI funds for $15 million. With a local match of 20 percent, the nearly $19 million project will install 40 DCFC and 260 LV II charging ports in municipal parking lots, at expanded GoHub! locations, and near dense residential, Main Streets, and neighborhood commercial districts.
In May, Mayor Wu announced Safety Surge, a new street safety program designed to curb speeding, reduce crashes, and make neighborhoods more comfortable and safer for walking, biking, and driving. The Safety Surge invests in the installation of zones of speed humps on eligible neighborhood streets, the redesign of intersections for safety, and new guidelines for the City’s traffic signals to slow down traffic on residential streets and reduce conflicts between drivers, pedestrians, and bike riders. This builds on Mayor Wu’s commitment to ensure all modes of transportation are safe on Boston’s streets and to make Boston the best City in the country to raise a family. The plan for speed hump implementation was first announced last fall with an expansion of the City’s bike network.