Walla Walla parking enforcement scooter goes green

The city's parking enforcement officer has a new set of wheels: a quiet electric scooter.

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City of Walla Walla Parking Enforcement Ofc. Liz Stroe drives the city's new electric scooter along Alder Street. The vehicle went into service early this month, replacing the old gas-powered tricycle cart used for parking enforcement. (Dec. 29, 2010)

WALLA WALLA -- A venture into green technology by the city of Walla Walla is humming right along.

A new all-electric parking enforcement scooter is now prowling downtown streets. It has replaced the gas-powered cart which had been in service since 1999, said Police spokesman Tim Bennett.

The 2010 GEM Utility scooter went into service on Dec. 7. The near-silent cart has a top speed of about 25 mph and can go about 30 miles for 60 cents worth of electricity. The 72-volt battery system is recharged by being plugged into a standard 110-volt outlet.

"It scoots around pretty good. It corners on a dime," said Liz Stroe, city parking enforcement officer. The four-wheeled vehicle is also more stable than the old tricycle cart due to the weight of the batteries slung underneath the vehicle.

The city purchased the cart from the Kennewick-based Paul Parish Limited company. The firm was the low bidder with a price of $14,059.36, Bennett said.

Stroe said she uses the scooter primarily to patrol the city's three, two-hour limit parking lots and along Alder Street, alternating driving it with foot patrols.

U-B writer Vicki Hillhouse contributed to this report. Andy Porter can be reached at andyporter@wwub.com or 526-8318. Check out his blog at blogs.ublabs.org/randomthoughts.

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