The City of St. Louis Park is taking steps to improve sustainable practices for residents, city employees, visitors, and business owners. These initiatives are detailed in the city’s Climate Action Plan, which highlights their goals of reducing vehicle emissions by 25% by 2030 and becoming carbon neutral by 2040. To achieve the goals outlined in the Climate Action Plan, the city has implemented energy efficiency practices, increased renewable energy usage, and spearheaded a range of electric vehicle (EV) initiatives to address all potential users.
Transforming how people travel throughout the city is one of the biggest challenges for St. Louis Park. The city is focused on providing the infrastructure needed to meet its commitment to climate action; this will be accomplished by implementing several improvements. St. Louis Park’s key strategy to increase the adoption of EVs is including charging stations in parking standards for new development, expanding infrastructure for public charging, and promoting and encouraging the adoption of EVs.
The city identifies priority locations for charging stations, ensures EV parking spaces have high visibility and educational signage, encourages private businesses to offer charging stations, hosts educational events and supports state, local, and other incentives for purchasers of new EVs. Eight public EV chargers have been installed at municipal buildings. Plugshare check-ins indicate charging customers are happy with and appreciative of the city’s free chargers. City officials have set an example by installing chargers on city property as well as purchasing the Nissan Leaf, Mitsubishi Outlander plug-in hybrid and Chevy Bolt for their own fleet.
In 2019 the city council passed an Electric Vehicle Supply Equipment ordinance, which requires owners of new and reconstructed parking lots to add EV charging stations. The number of parking spaces are determined by the size of the lots and type of use. There are currently 24 publicly available chargers and 8 city-owned public chargers across the city at places such as Target and Goodwill, and many more in the works.
Looking forward, the city hopes to partner with others in the region to create an EV master plan and coordinated approach. Continued research will occur to determine EV equity considerations, such as installing chargers in the public right-of-way and/or pursuing a regional EV car sharing partnership. The team plans to increase awareness by continuing to provide educational programs, including educational expos and test drive events for the community.