In the rush to foster demand for electric vehicles (EV), London is letting bulky EV charging points (EVCPs) clutter its footways. These installations take up scarce space and make life more difficult for pedestrians, especially those with visual impairments, wheelchair users, and parents and carers pushing buggies.
There is a risk that installations, such as those illustrated above, are in opposition to government regulations and policies including Equality Act 2010, Department for Transport’s (DfT) Inclusive Transport Strategy and the Mayor’s Transport Strategy and its aims of reducing car ownership and usage and creating Healthy Streets that are free of clutter and enable walking.
London Living Streets is asking London boroughs, Transport for London and infrastructure providers to take a strategic approach to EV infrastructure and prioritise EVCP locations (for slow and rapid charging) in the following order:
- Off-street charging should be the default for both slow and rapid charging. EVCPs in off-street locations should be prioritised for EV car clubs to enable people give up their cars and ensure more efficient use of space.
- If off-street locations are unavailable, EVCPs should be installed on the carriageway in well-designed build outs.
- The footway is the last resort and only considered if 2.5m of clear space is left for safe, comfortable, social walking.
Off-street charge points could be located in car parks, for example in town centres, at leisure centres, community facilities, shopping centres, train stations, or housing estates. These off-street charge points should be prioritised for EV car clubs, which could handle the charging, provide extras such as car seats or deliver cars to those unable to walk or cycle to pick up a car. This would ensure the service appeals to a wider range of people than existing car clubs.
The outcomes of such a service could be transformative. It would reduce the number of cars parked on streets and free space for more cycle parking and lanes, seating, greenery and safer crossings. Car clubs also facilitate more active travel by prompting users to justify the need for each car journey.
A careful, strategic approach to EV infrastructure provision offers an opportunity for cities to rethink, or disrupt, how people park and use cars. London must not let this opportunity pass by.
London Living Streets has produced: