By Lillian Nawman
On October 23, 2002, a group of 25 Lincoln Hills residents met at Bob and Lillian Nawman's home to share their interest in their new acquisitions--Low Speed Vehicles--and to determine if there was interest to form a group, within the Del Webb's Sun City Lincoln Hills Community Association's structure of requirements, to be known as the Lincoln Hills LSV Group. Following the successful organizational meeting and with the requirement to have a minimum of 25 members, the LSV Group became a formal entity.
Monthly meetings were held and continue, where representatives and speakers on significant subjects related to LSV operation are featured. Such examples are: the GEM factory, Lincoln Chamber of Commerce, qualified business experts in maintenance and care of LSVs, a local historian, the Lincoln Police Department, a DMV representative, and updates from the Lincoln City Council relative to the Transportation Plan. The membership meeting also includes an Open Forum for members to ask questions and rehearse comments about their LSV driving experience. During the course of the discussions of many subjects at our 2003 meetings, it became apparent that there was a desire to drive into downtown Lincoln to support the city merchants.
President Bob Nawman wrote a Letter to the Editor of the Lincoln News Messenger on May 1, 2003, expressing concern over how to get into the downtown area with an LSV. As a result of that letter being published in the newspaper, Bob and then Mayor Primo Santini met to discuss the idea. The mayor was given a test drive to get the feeling and to understand the practicality of such a vehicle. City Council members Tom Cosgrove and Kent Nakata, President of the Lincoln Chamber of Commerce Judy Bennett, and Engineering Consultant for MHM Engineers Steve Ainsworth, were invited to attend a membership meeting. Comments were made regarding the understanding of what public perception was of this type of vehicle and the obstacles that needed to be faced and overcome. As a result of additional communications with Council members, significant steps were taking shape for the importance of the "LSV Idea."
Realizing the benefits to the environment, and to area businesses which would better be able to serve this active adult community if residents were able to drive into downtown and surrounding areas, the City of Lincoln started to seriously consider a formal Neighborhood Electric Vehicle (NEV) Transportation Plan. Lincoln issued a NEV survey program questionnaire for LSV owners and the results indicated a direction for a program. A traffic study was underway by September 2003. Very soon, it was evident that progress was unfolding on a comprehensive NEV Transportation Plan, and suddenly there was more publicity about LSVs.
Discover Magazine, a supplement of the Sacramento Bee, featured an article, "The Need for Low Speed," with pictures and commentary on LSVs and golf carts. On September 3, 2004, the television network CNBC brought a camera crew to the Nawmans' home for an interview about how they use their LSV and its benefits. This broadcast was shown in conjunction with a segment about drivers from the GEM factory in Fargo, North Dakota and appeared throughout the United States. The idea was catching on!
For the first time, the Lincoln Hills LSV Group members were given permission to drive into downtown Lincoln on Thursday, December 11, 2003, led by police escort on the day designated as NEV Day. The City had consulted with Cal Trans to change a small section of roadway from a 40 MPH zone to a 35 MPH zone, making it legal for LSVs to enter downtown from the Sun City area. Progress had been made, and continues to this date, as steps of the Lincoln NEV Transportation Plan are implemented. Assembly Bill 2353, passed by the California Legislature and signed into law by Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger, was a direct result of progress made on the Transportation Plans for the cities of Lincoln and Rocklin which are forerunners of things to come for other California cities and national communities. The LSV Group continues to grow rapidly from its early membership of 25 to over 300. Social events and day trips have been held since 2003 creating an atmosphere of fellowship, education, cooperation and unity. GEM and THINK clinics have been held for members since 2004, with factory technicians present to check the vehicles of group members. LSV Car Rallies are organized for fun each year.
Friday, July 28, 2006, was a big day for the LSV Group as it was recognized by Global Electric Motorcars as a "GEMtown," and for the City of Lincoln--An All-American City--as it was recognized as a "GEM Friendly City." You can make a difference. . .
Submitted by Lillian Nawman, Secretary
Lincoln Hills LSV Group