By Scott Etkin
The DeHostos Houses, a New York City Housing Authority (NYCHA) development on the corner of 93rd Street and Amsterdam, was selected to be part of a pilot program by Con Edison to install outdoor e-bike and e-scooter charging and storage for its residents.
The test project, which was announced by Mayor Eric Adams earlier this week, is intended to “determine whether providing safe, secure charging and storage outdoors would reduce indoor charging, which can be dangerous,” and measure how much demand there is among residents for this service, according to ConEd’s press release.
DeHostos Houses, a 22-story building with 219 apartments, was one of four NYCHA developments selected for the program. The other sites are in Queens and Brooklyn.
“[DeHostos] was chosen because residents had expressed strong interest in safe charging options for e-bike batteries. City Council Member Gale Brewer had also suggested this location,” said Allan Drury, a spokesperson for ConEd, in an email to WSR.
The program is still in its early stages, so details about how big each facility will be are not yet available. Currently, ConEd is in the process of finding a vendor to build the storage and charging units. Doing a site visit with the vendor will then allow ConEd to determine how many chargers each site will accommodate. ConEd is expecting the work to install the chargers to begin in late 2023.
E-bikes are a…charged topic on the Upper West Side. Community Board 7 recently rejected a proposal from the City for a deliversita hub in the traffic island south of the 72nd Street subway station on Broadway, primarily due to concerns around pedestrian safety, but also because of the risk of fires from e-bike batteries. Last summer, NYCHA considered banning e-bikes from its apartments and common spaces due to fire risk.
The safety concerns around charging e-bikes indoors are a top focus of the new program. “We want to encourage outdoor charging, as opposed to indoor charging, which can be dangerous,” said Mr. Drury. “The chargers will be a safe distance from residences and comply with Fire Department of New York (FDNY) guidelines for safety.”
While the dangers of e-bikes are real, there are also benefits. Rides on e-bikes and e-scooters can replace car and motorcycle trips, which reduces pollution, noise, and traffic congestion. Some low-income individuals also rely on e-bikes to make money delivering food and other goods throughout the city for delivery apps that don’t provide a mode of transportation to their independent contractors.
“Making micromobility safer and easier will be a plus for the many hard-working people who earn their living delivering food to our homes and businesses,” said Raghu Sudhakara, vice president, Distributed Resource Integration, for Con Edison. “Our demonstration project with NYCHA will provide us with information on how we can support these forms of transportation, which provide environmental benefits, convenience, and enjoyment when used safely.”