Update: 1 p.m. Thursday, Feb. 28: A Los Gatos resident, who declined to be identified, complains that regular car drivers are parking their wheels at the four electric vehicle charging stations in downtown lots.
"I have a friend who owns an EV and he was complaining to me about never getting to recharge his car," she said, asking that her name not be used in this story. "Has anyone ever mentioned putting into place restrictions on who can park in those spots?"
Los Gatos Town Manager Greg Larson said public officials are excited that the charging stations are getting increasing use, and they're considering the installation of additional public spaces as funding becomes available.
The town is also in the process of obtaining five electric vehicles for municipal use, he said.
The Los Gatos Town Council approved the chargers' installation more than a year ago, he noted. The Council's direction was to keep them public spaces not specifically restricted to electric vehicles, given the existing high parking demands downtown and elsewhere in Los Gatos, Larson said.
However, because of requests from EV owners, town staff will be raising the issue again to downtown business owners and the Chamber of Commerce for consideration later this year.
Messages from residents expressing concern about usage of the parking spots are being forwarded to the town staff liaison for the Los Gatos Transportation and Parking Commission.
The proposed changes to the electric vehicle parking restrictions will be considered by the commission at their next meeting, no later than April 11, and then forwarded to the Town Council for review and action by May 20, Larson said.
In the meantime, the town will be installing "Electric Vehicles Preferred" signage pending Council action to restrict and enforce those spaces in the future, Larson said.
The access points are located at:
- South parking lot across the street from the Toll House Hotel
- Parking lot 5, between Elm and Main streets
- Parking lot 3, between Royce Street and Grays Lane (two behind the former Domus building)
There are also two EV charging stations at the Los Gatos Motor Inn, which were installed in early 2012.
The service is open to the public and, according to the lodging facility's general manager, Gavin McClements. He said the cost to charge your car there is the same price as those in the downtown area.
According to town officials, the four downtown stations generated 458 kilowatt hours of usage in June 2012, climbing to 1,148 kilowatt hours in October, 1,136 kilowatt hours in November and 1,138 kilowatt hours in December.
It costs $2.50 per 24 hours to charge your vehicle in Los Gatos. It's free in Mountain View, Palo Alto, Redwood City, Campbell and Portola Valley.
Other South Bay communities charge the following:
- $0.50 per hour – Los Altos Hills
- $1 per hour – Saratoga, San Jose
- $1.50 per hour – Cupertino
- $2 per hour – Stanford University