Neighbourhood Electric Vehicles are well-accommodated in Lincoln, CA

Sacramento Bee, November 9, 2008

Another great story that I picked off of the Sightline Daily from the Sightline Institute.  The Sacramento suburb of Lincoln, California started with the intention of allowing golf carts to get through subdivisions to the golf course, but now it’s quickly becoming a model of how low-speed vehicles, like most electric vehicles, can be accommodated into the general traffic pattern.

Today, state officials and numerous cities see Lincoln as a model of how to design communities to accommodate and even promote the use of energy-saving NEVs.

Lincoln unknowingly prepared for the NEV trend years ago when it redesigned its streets to welcome the golf carts driven by residents of a then-new Del Webb retirement community.

I don’t golf and to me, a golf course is a huge piece of converted farmland, but hey, there are definitely benefits to golfing here.

Lincoln city staffers have included NEVs in the city’s growth plans and hope the city will have 5,000 NEVs by the time its population reaches 115,000.

City planners and police also credit NEVs with calming traffic: By slowing traffic flow, they reduce accidents.

Lincoln officials have spent nearly $1 million in making their streets more NEV friendly. To date, they have 30 miles of roadways dedicated to NEV travel.

Linked to grocery stores, banks, restaurants and medical centers, the NEV routes foster a sense of community while keeping dollars local.

Some new shopping centers have dedicated parking spots for NEVs and have installed electrical charging stations.

The special lanes and other amenities for NEVs have drawn delegations from as near as Sacramento and as far as Seoul, South Korea. The visitors want to travel on Lincoln’s NEV lanes and to hear how it became the first city in the state to have a comprehensive NEV transportation plan.

That’s a very impressive plan for a small city of over 42,000 people.  It makes you wonder if other cities in the world would ever be serious enough to accommodate these vehicles to a greater extent.  The City of Vancouver has passed a by-law allowing these kind of vehicles to travel around town, but not on bridges nor on roads with speed limits higher than 50 km/h.  The model sounds promising.  It will be interesting as more information about how the lanes and cars are set up to see how adaptable the Lincoln plans will be to elsewhere in the world.

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