Parking lot

The conceptual site plan for a new parking lot proposed at the corner of Third and Central in Coos Bay. The “green” lot plan is in its early stages, but could be funded by the state environmental regulator.

Coos Bay has a good problem. There are too many people visiting for the city’s parking lots to keep up, especially on Wednesday Farmer’s markets and festival days.

So when the city found a piece of unused land on 3rd and Central, it snatched it up for parking.

When it’s done there will be 14 parking spaces and bike parking as well.

And the parking lot is not exactly paving paradise. It’s a permeable parking lot which releases water back into the ground.

”It's considered a green parking lot in that it is environmentally friendly with permeable pavers, so all the water that falls on the lot will stay on the lot," according to Coos Bay City Manager Rodger Craddock.

But that’s not the only way Craddock and the Coos Bay City Council wanted the parking lot to be green. They had hoped to receive a grant to put in a high speed electric vehicle charger.

“It would have been great if we got the grant, but unfortunately, we didn’t,” said Craddock. “If we tried to do it on our own, it’d be too expensive. It’s about $100,000 for the charger and the infrastructure for a high speed charger would be another 150. I just don’t think we can do it.”

Councilors asked him at the Tuesday meeting if a slower charger could be an option.

“We could probably get a charger that’s 25 miles for an hour. That would be about $30,00, and it wouldn’t require new infrastructure,” Craddock said.

Council agreed to pursue that option so long as it doesn’t slow the building process down of the city’s new parking lot.

In the meantime, Craddock also discussed the possibility of a fast charger on Front Street where the infrastructure is already in place.

“I think it would encourage people to come to our downtown,” said Craddock.

“I’d like to see it move forward, even a slower charger,” Councilor Carmen Matthews said while recounting a recent vacation and seeing electric cars everywhere. “This is the where it’s going and we want to be ready.”

But ultimately Matthews agreed with the rest of council to finish the parking lot and add the charger if it’s possible without delaying the completion. The city manager and council also agreed to pursue funding and the possibility of a fast charger on Front Street later.

Currently, there are six electric vehicle charging stations in Coos Bay, according to “Chargehub” which monitors EV charging stations. Two are free to use and most are either level two, which can charge an EV within a few hours or level three which is fast charging.

From Port Orford through Coos Bay there are a total of 14 charging stations available to the public: two in Port Orford, five in the Bandon Area, six in Coos Bay and one in North Bend. To the South, Brookings has one charging station, according to ChargeHub.

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