Fear not Bremerton Post Office patrons, no electric vehicle charging stations will hinder you from making your rounds.
The city council decided not to include electric vehicle charging stations in front of the post office, near Sixth and Pacific, as part of the $3.1 million Pacific Avenue Reconstruction Project.
Beyond axing the charging stations, though, the council also voted unanimously to not install any electric conduit that could power charging stations or be used for other uses in the future.
In addition to worries about the location of the four federally funded charging stations, residents and city councilors raised concerns about the ability of the stations to charge vehicles in a short amount of time and noted the fact that folks who park there without charging an electric vehicle could face a $124 fine following a change in law approved by state legislators.
“I think we should have them, but I don’t know if that’s the area that we should,” said council member Leslie Daugs.
Council member Faye Flemister sounded a similar refrain.
“Since March, we have been discussing this and I really think that there is not adequate support from the citizens for this particular move,” said. “I do not think that it is prudent to put the conduit in and not know whether this is the right site. I don’t think we have adequate support from the citizens. Why put it in if we’re not sure that this is where they belong?”
While the council opposed the stations, in what council member Nick Wofford described as “a consensus of anything but the charging stations,” they also had a lengthy and, at times, confusing discussion about the conduit itself.
“As a public works guy, I just hate to not put a conduit across the street that has the potential to bring 240-volt power to the other side of the street for $9,200,” warned Public Works Director Chal Martin.
Nonetheless, the council eventually went on to vote unanimously to remove all of the infrastructure, including conduit, from the overall project.
“I think we’re winging it,” Council President Greg Wheeler said at one point during the meeting.
A short time later, during a procedural debate about a proposed amendment that would install conduit but require a vote on any charging station approval, which was substantively no different than the original motion, council member Eric Younger formed his hand into the shape of a gun, pointed it at his head and pulled the “trigger.”
The amendment subsequently failed.
“We all had the intention that we could put this there, those four parking spots on Pacific, and everybody could use them,” he said. “If you got an electric car, you can use it. If you’re going to go to the post office, you can use it. But, they moved our cheese! Right? They moved it … Let’s put an end to this tonight. Let’s just end this. We keep on trying to grasp at straws … The project is doomed because the Legislature changed the law on us (by imposing a $124 fine for non-electric vehicles parked in those spots).”
After the council voted unanimously to spike the charging stations and the conduit, they directed Public Works to contact the contractor and go back to the drawing board as it relates to installing conduit in a conversation completely removed from charging stations.
“We’d want to get to work right away because we don’t want this to drag on,” Martin said.