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Santa Monica Poised to Allow Free Meter Parking for CAVs with Expired Decals

Bob Kronovetrealty
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Santa Monica Convention and Visitors

By Jorge Casuso

February 8, 2019 -- Santa Monica could become the first California city to extend free metered parking to Clean Air Vehicles (CAVs) with decals that have expired.

The proposed ordinance -- scheduled to be taken up by the City Council Tuesday -- would allow motorists who purchased Zero Emission Vehicles (ZEVs) before January 2017 to continue parking for free with their expired decals.

That would include the 842 vehicles registered in Santa Monica that have white CAV decals first issued in 2000 to mainly fully electric or hydrogen fuel cell vehicles.

Staff is also recommending that the Council allow free parking for Neighborhood Electric Vehicle (NEV) decals issued prior to 2012.

CAVs registered outside of Santa Monica also would continue to be eligible for free meter parking.

"Providing free metered parking is a low-cost measure to incentivize the purchase of low- and zero-emission vehicles," staff wrote in its report.

"This recommendation would allow nearly all Clean Air Vehicle decal holders to continue to be authorized under the payment exemption," staff said.

The proposed ordinance would not apply to the 654 vehicles with green decals or those with yellow decals "because they were issued to plug-in hybrid and hybrid models only," staff said.

Those vehicles have internal combustion engines and typically generate higher emissions than zero-emission vehicles, staff said.

There are currently 1,057 vehicles with red decals that were issued since January 1, 2018 that expire in 2022.

Santa Monica is one of the few California cities that allows free metered parking for vehicles displaying CAV decals, a policy it adopted in 2002.

Other cities with similar programs include Sacramento, San Jose and Hermosa Beach, staff said.

The ordinance would add to the decline in the City's parking meter revenues, although "the precise amounts are unknown."

The number of electric vehicles -- which stands at 2,596 -- is expected to climb, staff said.

"The impact on parking revenues will likely be greater in future years as the market share of clean air vehicles increases," staff said.

The changes to the ordinance were recommended by the City's Task Force on the Environment Electric Vehicle Subcommittee, which is composed of Santa Monica resident EV drivers.

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