City to look again look at electric vehicles

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Stacy Vogel
Saturday, January 26, 2008
— The city of Janesville is taking a second try at crafting an ordinance that would allow neighborhood electric vehicles on city streets.

The city council Monday night will discuss a second version of the ordinance, which would allow the vehicles on streets with speed limits 35 mph or lower.

Electric vehicles have been a hot topic since this summer, when a business selling them opened on Milton Avenue. The small vehicles run silently on electricity, instead of gas, and reach speeds of 25 mph.

The city balked at allowing the vehicles because, at the time, the state didn’t have a method to license or register the vehicles and the city would’ve had to do it itself.

That changed in November, and the city Dec. 10 introduced the first version of a resolution allowing the vehicles. Council members George Brunner and Amy Loasching requested introduction of the ordinance.

But the Wisconsin Department of Transportation rejected the proposed ordinance because it wasn’t specific enough. Peter Riggs, city administrative analyst, worked with the DOT to write a second version that lists state and federal highways where the vehicles can run.

Chris Thompson, general manager of Green Autos at 1250B Milton Ave., said he’s glad the council finally appears poised to allow electric vehicles in the city. Other cities, such as Milwaukee, La Crosse, Sun Prairie and West Allis, already have passed or are looking into ordinances allowing the vehicles.

Evansville recently passed an ordinance allowing the vehicles and bought at least one electric vehicle for city use.

“For the ‘city of parks’ … it took way too long,” Thompson said.

Still, Thompson was optimistic this second ordinance will pass. He said he hasn’t found any opposition from city council members and knows of at least five to 10 Janesville residents who are ready to buy the electric vehicles if it becomes legal to drive them in the city.

The ordinance probably will go to a public hearing Friday, Feb. 11, Riggs said. The council probably will vote on the ordinance that night, he said.

Last updated: 12:52 pm Thursday, December 13, 2012

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