'Green' The Magic Word for Parks and CUNY Campuses

Michael Saltzman 

June 23, 2005


WHITE PLAINS—Various state and municipal parks and two City University of New York colleges are participating in an innovative “Green Zones” program sponsored by the New York Power Authority (NYPA) to improve air quality in clearly defined areas with electric and hybrid-electric vehicles and electric outdoor power equipment.

The Utica Parks Department, the White Plains Recreation and Parks Department, Niagara Reservation State Park, Bethpage State Park, the Hudson River Parks Trust in Manhattan, Queens College, and Bronx Community College are the first “Green Zones” to sign up for the new multiyear program.

All of the participants are working to reduce fossil-fuel emissions linked to air pollution and global warming.

Eugene W. Zeltmann, NYPA president and chief executive officer, said, “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. This will contribute to efforts under Gov. George E. Pataki to introduce various advanced energy technologies that not only clean the air but cut dependence on foreign oil.”

The Power Authority has budgeted more than $200,000 for this year for subsidizing the Green Zones’ vehicles and equipment.

As examples of the financial support, NYPA will pay the higher incremental cost, up to $4,000, for hybrid-electric vehicles, and half the cost of off-road electric vehicles (EVs) and outdoor electric equipment. It also plans to cover the cost of the electric-vehicle charging stations.

The Power Authority will work with each participant to identify the gasoline and diesel-fueled vehicles and equipment to be replaced and will calculate the resulting emissions reductions and fuel savings. The participants will provide NYPA with data on the performance of the new vehicles and equipment twice a year.

 The seven parties that have committed to Green Zones will be acquiring the following:

  • Utica Parks Department: two GEM (Global Electric Motor) neighborhood electric
    vehicles, manufactured by DaimlerChrysler, and one Electruck

  • The City of White Plains: Two hybrid vehicles and one electric work vehicle.

  • Niagara State Park: two Cart-Rite utility vehicles, one Taylor Dunn Electruck
    and five John Deere E-Gators. All are off-road electric work vehicles.

  • Bethpage State Park: 15 Toro off-road EVs.

  • Hudson River Parks Trust: six Toro Workman (an off-road electric utility vehicle) and one hybrid vehicle.

  • Bronx Community College: one Electruck, two GEMs and an electric lawn mower.

  • Queens College: three GEMs, one Toro Workman, and one Electruck.

In the last decade, the Power Authority has helped put a total of 750 electric and hybrid-electric vehicles in service, 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.