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Mercer Island purchases electric cars | News Briefs

Joyce Trantina, a City of Mercer Island development services employee, takes a demonstration drive of one of two electric vehicles that will be used by various city employees in their work on Mercer Island. - Chad Coleman/Mercer Island Reporter
Joyce Trantina, a City of Mercer Island development services employee, takes a demonstration drive of one of two electric vehicles that will be used by various city employees in their work on Mercer Island.
— image credit: Chad Coleman/Mercer Island Reporter

City purchases electric cars

City maintenance and development services staffers will now have to unplug one of two new city vehicles before they drive to an inspection on the Island.

Last Monday, the City Council and administration staff displayed the city’s two new electrical vehicles outside of City Hall. One is a truck and the other is a sedan. The two plug-in, battery-powered rides will work great on Mercer Island, City Manager Rich Conrad said. Both vehicles reach a top speed around 40 mph. An Island without a speed limit over 35 mph, Conrad said, is a “wonderful place for electric cars.”

The city manager also said these cars would be the first of several in the city fleet. Each of them costs around $20,000, a general price range for other vehicles purchased by the city this year.

Both the truck and the sedan are powered by six deep-cycle marine 12-volt batteries and a 72-volt, three-phase AC electric motor. It takes an average of six to eight hours to charge the batteries, which then lasts about 30 to 50 miles.

Tent City packs up and is gone

With a lot less fanfare than when they moved to the Island, Tent City 4 folded their tents and left the Island on the first of November.

A total of nine arrests associated with Tent City 4 took place during the roving homeless encampment’s first ever three-month stay on the Island, according to the police chief.

During a briefing at the last City Council meeting, Police Chief Ed Holmes told city officials that no crimes against Islanders by homeless camp residents took place while on the Island. Of the arrests and total number of incidents involving the camp, five were for outstanding warrants in which none of the crimes were committed on the Island; two arrests were for traffic violations; one for a domestic violence incident between a couple staying in the camp and one for violating a no-contact order. Other than the graffiti spray-painted in the Town Center around the camp’s move in day, no other property crimes against residents or the city took place, Holmes said. Police were unable to determine the origin of the graffiti, but a separate and somewhat similar stencil was later painted on a wall in the lower level of the Park-and-Ride.

Police presence at the camp was also intense during the entire stay, Holmes said. Out of the three months on the Island, police completed 287 walk-throughs, which averaged about 3.3 per day.

City officials will be conducting a formal review with public input, including the Clergy Association and host congregation, of the camp’s stay in the coming months.

Community Events, April 2014

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