Free parking, bus lane access for electric cars: what could possibly go wrong?

electric car parking spots for charging
CC BY-SA 2.0 Glen Wallace

This is becoming a perennial topic here on TreeHugger. The Guardian reports that eight UK cities are being awarded funds to provide major electric vehicle (EV) perks in an effort to increase adoption. Those perks will include a solar-powered charger at a York park-and-ride, free parking in Bristol and Milton Keynes, as well as bus lane access in Milton Keynes and Derby.

Cue the environmentalist handwringing.

On the one hand, I am sure Lloyd will be worrying about electric cars making it harder to fix our cities. After all, cars driving in bus lanes will inevitably impact public transit. And free parking for private automobiles seems to be the antithesis of reclaiming the ridiculous amount of space we devote to the motor car. With a demographic shift away from the car apparently underway, we do need to keep an eye on where we spend our resources.

In the other hand, I tend to be a part of the "it's not this or that" crowd. Given our current dependence on private vehicles, and British' cities on-going battle against life threatening smog, I'd suggest that speeding up the transition to emission-free cars is a significant step in the right direction.

The only caveat to that is the fact that the £40m pot being shared between these eight cities should not detract from other, non-car based efforts to slash emissions. From electric buses to treating cycling as mass transport, we must also continue our shift away from the car.

But surely, if done right, increased use of EVs should help us on this front too? As our streets get quieter, and as our air gets cleaner, it becomes easier and more pleasant for us to walk and cycle. And that can only be a good thing for everyone.

Tags: Car-Free | Cities | Electric Cars | Electric Vehicles

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