Utica Parks to Benefit from NYPA "Green Zones' Program

Michael Saltzman 

June 23, 2005


UTICA—Proctor and Roscoe Conkling Parks in Utica will get a breath of fresh air from three zero-emission electric vehicles (EVs) the New York Power Authority (NYPA) is helping to purchase for the city’s parks and greenways as part of its “Green Zones” demonstration program.

“The ‘Green Zones’ program will improve air quality by substituting environmentally cleaner electric-drive vehicles and electric outdoor power equipment for conventional vehicles and equipment,” said Eugene W. Zeltmann, NYPA president and chief executive officer. “We’re looking forward to working with the Utica Department of Parks and Recreation and other program participants as we forge ahead in our statewide efforts to introduce clean technologies that also reduce foreign oil dependence.”

Under Green Zones, the Power Authority will co-fund the zero-and low-emission vehicles and outdoor electric equipment for such areas as parks and college campuses. The outdoor equipment includes electric lawn mowers whose gas equivalent is often an unregulated source of pollution.

 NYPA has budgeted more than $200,000 for the Green Zones program for 2005. Its financial support includes subsidizing half the cost of off-road EVs such as the three slated for Utica parks, as well as the total cost of the battery charging equipment for the vehicles.

 Utica will obtain two neighborhood GEM (Global Electric Motorcar) vehicles, manufactured by DaimlerChrysler, and one Taylor Dunn Electruck, an electric alternative to a utility pickup truck. Both EV models are ideal for limited-access, low-speed areas and fully recharge in a few hours.

 “Electric vehicles make enormous sense for parks and other types of applications

where driving distances are limited and vehicles are required to go at lower speeds,” said Timothy J. Julian, Utica mayor. “They’re perfect for environmentally sensitive areas like parks and greenways because they don’t pollute. That’s why we’re excited to be acquiring the three EVs, and thank Governor Pataki and the Power Authority for their support.”

Every six months, Utica Parks and other participants in the multiyear program will provide NYPA with recorded mileage and other performance data.

The other current participants in Green Zones are Niagara Reservation State Park, Bethpage State Park, the White Plains Recreation and Parks Department, the Hudson River Parks Trust in Manhattan, Queens College, and Bronx Community College.

During the last decade, the Power Authority has helped placed a total of 750 electric-and hybrid-electric vehicles on the road, for its own fleet and those of its public customers and other entities. Collectively, the vehicles, which range from three-wheel parking enforcement vehicles to full-size transit buses, have traveled more than four million miles.

 Governor Pataki has directed that half of all non-emergency, light-duty vehicles acquired by state agencies and other affected entities be alternative-fueled by 2005. His Executive Order increases the amount to 100 percent by 2010.