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City Furthers Clean Energy Agenda

Council members green-light infrastructure projects and hybrid vehicles for the BHPD.

The Beverly Hills City Council moved forward Tuesday on projects to build a natural gas vehicle fuel facility, install electric vehicle charging stations and acquire additional hybrid vehicles for the police department.

However, approval of a deal with Mansfield Gas Equipment Systems Corp. to design and build a compressed natural gas, or CNG, fueling station in the Public Works yard hit a snag when Councilman John Mirisch questioned staff members on why only one company bid for the more than $1 million project.

"Not having any competitive bidding certainly disturbs me greatly. I can't believe we're getting the best possible price," Mirisch said. "I would like to suggest we go back to [Mansfield] and try to get them to reduce the price."

Alan Schneider, the city's director of project administration, said six companies responded to the city's contract advertising and looked at the site, but only Mansfield submitted a bid.

A deadline for a South Coast Air Quality Management District grant of $300,000 to cover part of Mansfield's $1 million fee prompted the council to extend the public hearing on the matter to the Sept. 27 council session and approve the bid tentatively on the condition that the SCAQMD grant deadline for having a contract in place is actually looming. Schneider, City Manager Jeff Kolin and staff members at Tuesday's council meeting were unaware of the deadline date.

A city-owned CNG facility will accommodate more cost-effectively Beverly Hills' , Schneider said. Diesel fuel and gasoline cost the city nearly $3.50 and $3.47 per gallon respectively, while CNG from a fueling station in the Public Works yard would cost $2.75 per gallon.

Another agenda item approved an agreement with Coulomb Technologies Inc. to install 28 ChargePoint Network at various Beverly Hills locations.

"E.V. [electric vehicle] drivers will enjoy advanced features and benefits of the ChargePoint Network including 24/7 driver support, driver billing options and mobile phone applications that provide drivers with real-time station location and availability, turn-by-turn navigation and charging status," ChargePoint America Director Michael Jones said. "Beverly Hills is taking a leadership role in the public sector by making this badly needed infrastructure available in an area with high demand."

The council also approved nearly $118,000 to Downtown Ford Sales for the purchase of three Ford Fusion hybrid sedans and one Ford Escape hybrid SUV to replace public safety vehicles assigned to the , according to the meeting's consent agenda.

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Mark Elliot September 23, 2011 at 03:48 PM
The merits of alternative vehicles not withstanding, Beverly Hills could take a giant leap forward by joining other cities in planning for non-motor mobility. At Better Bike, we're working to make our streets safer for cyclists and pedestrians through plans & policies that put moving people before moving vehicles. We have a compact, walkable city, and there's no reason that local trips cannot be made without a car. Except that our streets are too dangerous, we hear. We can have safer streets, just like we can have fleets that sip less fuel for our $1 million. What about a few hundred bucks for some bike racks? Or a striped bike lane for a few thousand? Do those of us interested in transportation alternatives to the car have to get out there with a paint bucket and roller to make our streets more welcoming to cyclists? http://betterbike.org

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