Whole Foods Market Columbia Spots Reserved

Plug-In Only Symbols Painted at New Whole Foods Columbia Charging Stations

After being open for several weeks, the Columbia, Maryland Whole Foods Market has marked the parking spaces in front of their two charging stations with a green and white square designating the four spaces for plug-in vehicles only. There have been reports of regular gas cars parking in those spots which was to be expected before when there was no indication that the spots were reserved. Before the spaces were painted, I actually observed a number of shoppers begin to park there and upon recognizing the charging station, back out and park elsewhere. I’ve even had someone go back to move their car so that I could charge.

WFMc4From what I understand, the delay in getting the spots marked was due to rules in this particular location that had to be satisfied. Perhaps there were Columbia Association covenant approvals that needed to be obtained, I’m not sure.

Example of regulatory sign necessary for parking enforcement.

One thing I’m glad to see is that the painted squares are visible even before turning into the spots. Right now there are no signs at the front of the spaces but I have talked with the store manager and explained the new Howard County law and the requirement for official regulatory signs in order for the parking ordinance to be enforceable.

Some electric vehicle drivers that I’ve spoken with didn’t realize that both the Montgomery County law and the soon to be effective Howard County ordinance require a certain kind of sign that conforms to specific standards generally outlined in the Federal Manual on Uniform Traffic Control Devices (MUTCD) published by the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA).

Just because there is a charging station, even if it has a sign saying it is a charging station, doesn’t necessarily mean that non-plug-in vehicles can be ticketed for parking there under the new county laws. It will be interesting to see if the green painted symbols alone are effective at discouraging gasoline-only vehicles from parking in front of the charging stations. If you see any that do, let us know via Twitter.