Q: What can I do to about the “ICE-holes” blocking the charging stations for electric cars like the one I drive? – Ty R., Olympia
A: We’re shocked — shocked! — this would be going on and advocate for someone immediately to pull the plug on the practice!
Yeah, you’re right, dear reader, that was a bad joke, even for us.
It’s been a tough week here at Traffic Q&A headquarters, and we’re a bit loopy as we write this column.
But Ty’s question is a serious one that deserves a serious answer. According to plugshare.com, there are scores of public and private charging stations across Pierce and Thurston counties.
Before we expound on what we think the law, and simple etiquette, require, let us let Ty tell his tale.
“As an electric vehicle owner, I have been noticing quite a lot of internal combustion engine (ICE) vehicles parking in the charging stations lately at the designated spots marked for ‘charging electric vehicles only,’” he wrote.
Some electric vehicle owners also park in the spots without charging their cars, he said.
Both lead to frustration for a person like Ty, who’s just looking to juice up his ride.
Both are also against the law.
RCW 46.08.185, “Electric vehicle charging stations — Signage — Penalty,” states:
“It is a parking infraction, with a monetary penalty of $124, for any person to park a vehicle in an electric vehicle charging station provided on public or private property if the vehicle is not connected to the charge equipment.”
So, you can’t just use those spots as parking stalls.
Sometimes law-abiding electric vehicle owners try to shame violators by posting photos of their cars on Facebook, Ty said.
“We call them ‘ICE-holes,’” he said, and “EV-holes” in the case of inconsiderate electric vehicle owners.
Nasty notes sometimes are left under windshield wipers, Ty said.
Neither yields much satisfaction, he said.
“Do you know the proper way of reporting these violators to the authorities?” he asked.
We sought guidance from Mark Lane of the city of Olympia’s parking services division and Tacoma police spokeswoman Loretta Cool.
We suspect their answers won’t provide much satisfaction, either.
Lane said his division enforces RCW 46.08.185 only at the two locations where the city provides plug-ins — City Hall and the Lee Creighton Justice Center — and only during normal business hours on weekdays.
People who notice violators at those locations are welcome to report them to City Hall, Lane said.
It is up to the owners of the plug-ins at other locations to enforce the parking laws there, he said.
Lane advised against the note-under-the-windshield approach.
“I find that is not productive and can be dangerous,” he said.
Cool said people who spot charging station violators can call the Police Department’s non-emergency number, 253-798-4721, to report violations.
“It is like the handicap-parking violations,” she said. “If we are able to catch them, they will be cited. We do not issue tickets based on a picture sent in.”