Thursday, June 20, 2019

EV Chargers Now in Keene; Plans Floated for Marcy Field, Route 73

elelctric car

Two Electric Vehicle (EV) charging stations have been installed on the Route 73 corridor: one in the hamlet of Keene, the other in Keene Valley.

Both are easy to use and have industry standard Level 2 chargers that support virtually any EV on the road today – users need only to plug in. There is a donation box at each charger to cover electricity costs. The requested donation is about the equivalent of $1.00 per gallon of gasoline.

The charging stations were organized by the Town of Keene and the Keene Clean Energy Team (KCET) and made possible by a private donor working through the Adirondack Foundation.  In an announcement sent to the press, Town of Keene Supervisor Joe Pete Wilson praised the effort by saying that “Residents of Keene and visitors alike will benefit from the convenience of charging their EV’s while having a meal or shopping.”

The Keene charger is located at the corner of Route 73 and Hurricane Road, across the street from the Town Hall. The Keene Valley charger is also open to the public, but located at a private business, McDonough’s Valley Hardware on Route 73.  A celebration at McDonough’s at 4 pm on Wednesday, June 26th will feature food, music and remarks from Supervisor Wilson and Cali Brooks of the Adirondack Foundation.

Future Plans Include Marcy Field

Organizers say the next phase of the project will involve the design and installation of several chargers at the Marcy Field hiker parking area, including high-speed DC Fast chargers, intended not only to support hikers and visitors, but also to power electric shuttles that can be part of a more comprehensive approach to managing transportation on the busy Route 73 corridor. The route is an increasingly popular parking area for those accessing the Adirondack High Peaks.

The Town of Keene already operates a shuttle for hikers between the Marcy Field Parking Area and the Garden Trailhead, which typically serves overflow from the Garden Trailhead Parking Area during the busy summer weekend.  Since this spring the Garden Trailhead Parking Area has been inaccessible while a bridge is being replaced over Johns Brook and the only access has been via the Keene Shuttle from Marcy Field on weekends only.

The Garden Trailhead is the nearest trailhead to Johns Brook Lodge, and is one of the main access points to the High Peaks Wilderness, which is itself experiencing a notable increase in visitor-ship.

At the same time a four-mile section of State Route 73 between Chapel Pond and the Rooster Comb Trailhead has been closed to roadside parking making access to popular climbing areas more restricted.

Pete Nelson, a KCET member and a regular contributor to Adirondack Almanack, said the group hopes the State will “step up with a robust shuttle network that serves the many destinations along Route 73.”

“The Town of Keene, which already operates a shuttle for hikers using the Garden trailhead, recognizes that we’re part of the solution. We want to be ready to support the next generation of drivers and transportation users in a smart, green manner,” Nelson said.

The Keene Clean Energy Team is a group of volunteers who seek to advise the Keene Town Board on “real renewable energy technology and real credits from this technology, and to lead projects to save the Town money by adopting this technology, which also reduces greenhouse gas emissions and supports a clean environment.”

Keene’s EV charging project coincides with passage of New York State’s Climate Leadership and Community Protection Act, requiring carbon-free energy generation by 2040.

Since November of 2017, KCET has obtained certification for the Town as a Clean Energy Community (CEC) from the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority (NYSERDA); obtained a $50,000 grant which was used to install a solar power generation system on the Town’s highway garage that supplies half of the Town’s municipal energy demands; conducted an energy audit of Town buildings; led a project to convert the Town’s street lights to energy-saving LEDs; supported the Town electric contract to reduce the electric bills; supported installation of LED lights for Town buildings; enabled the continued expansion of solar pv sites (now over 50 sites); enabled the adoption of a unified solar permit and code enforcement officer training; and supported energy tracking with three years of data input into the EPA’s energy database.

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