Finally, Parking Meters Where Bikes Belong


Sacramento sends cyclists a clear sign that it’s okay to hitch your bike to a parking meter.

The City of Sacramento is converting defunct parking meters into officially sanctioned bike racks, the Sacramento Bee reported last month. After replacing its traditional meters with solar-powered, Muni-style pay stations, the city came up with this nifty purpose for otherwise useless infrastructure.

One hundred meters have been converted so far. If successful, the city will give more old meters the bike rack treatment.

This is a great idea, but we have to ask: Why not outfit active meters with bike racks too? Is it that inconvenient for drivers to reach over a bike while they feed the meter?

Photo: Sacramento Bee

  • Dave H.

    In New Haven, I’m told, all parking meters will soon have a sticker on them saying “Bikes park for free.” They were inspired by Chicago’s similar stickers.

  • fred

    Maybe bicyclists should have to feed the meter too.

  • Damian

    Cool idea, but these look a little flimsy for New York. I think our thieves would have those bolts loosened in about 20 seconds.

    Also, to Fred: great idea. Why stop there, though? I see women parking their baby carriages outside stores all the time, FOR FREE, while some poor guy in a 3-ton SUV has to pay for the parking. Old ladies and their shopping carts also get off scot-free. Time to close those loopholes!

  • da

    Right on, Fred!

    And a meter by every park bench, too!

  • Larry Littlefield

    (Maybe bicyclists should have to feed the meter too.)

    As for meters, obviously a bicycle doesn’t take up a fraction of the space of a car. But I wonder how many bike racks could be installed if there was a charge of 25 cents for any stay in excess of two hours? I’d pay.

    How about extending the sidewalk to shift from shifting from “free” auto parking to “paid” metered bicycle parking all over Manhattan, and on local commercial streets elsewhere, on that basis? The meters could double as bike hitches?

    I wonder what bicycle infrastructure we could afford if all the sales tax revenue from bicycle shops, and bicycle sales elsewhere, was dedicated to it.

    In the early days of the auto, some infrastructure was financed by dedicated revenues, but most was financed by non-drivers. In other words, that dedicated revenue was multiplied many times.

    Later the auto came to mostly pay for at least a modest share of its direct costs via dedicated taxes and fees, but only after decades of subsidies that cleared the way for broader auto use.

    What if those bicycle revenues were similarly leveraged 10 to 1? Remember, all you have to do is install a real barrier to separate a bike lane.

    Fred, I’m not sure if you were being sarcastic, but I like it. We could trade car parking spaces for bike parking spaces on that basis.

  • Larry Littlefield

    You know the more I think about this, the more I like it. It’s perfect really, especially right now.

    Drivers won’t pay. But bicyclists will — IF the space is taken away from drivers.

    If the first two hours are free, bicycle messengers, delivery people and shoppers are unaffected.

    I’ll gladly pay a quarter a day — that’s just $5.00 a month if I managed to ride everyday, and $4.00 is more like it. Compare that with the cost of parking a bike in a garage, in the few places listed by DOT and TA.

    And, the case could be make that 25 cents per day is proportional to the congestion created by cyclists, relative to private motor vehicles. And we can demand a full lane of traffic removed from the Brooklyn Bridge and given over to cyclists, to cut the conflict with peds.

    Any TA folks here? What do you think.

  • Anonymous

    For years, parking meters were the site of choice for chaining or locking one’s bicycle. I wouldn’t be surprised if one of the criteria for the shape and width of Kryptonite and Citadel u-locks was the ability to fit around parking meters while securing the frame-and-back wheel, and dismounted front wheel. (This was back when quick-release wheels really WERE quick-release.)

ALSO ON STREETSBLOG

Second Life: NYC Parking Meters to Reincarnate as Bike Racks

|
Headless meter poles on Madison Avenue, awaiting rebirth. Photo: Wiley Norvell. New York’s trusty single-space parking meters are a dying breed. They’ve served commercial corridors admirably, but they’re rapidly giving way to muni-meters (which are much better suited for innovations in curbside pricing, like DOT’s PARKSmart program). The downside of the shrinking meter supply: New […]

Locking Up Is Hard to Do

|
Is bike rack installation keeping up with meter removal? Photo: velcroTABandthewalkman/Flickr 2008 was a banner year for bike rack installations in New York City. DOT put in 1,377 racks in the fiscal year ending last July, according to the Mayor’s Management Report — up from 320 the previous year. And when DOT unveiled its new […]

Eyes on the Street: What’s Wrong With This Picture?

|
A few weeks ago muni-meters began popping up on the streets of Inwood. Naturally, this made me wonder if the city had considered turning the neighborhood’s defunct coin-op meters into bike racks. DOT has converted discarded meter poles into racks in other parts of the city, and livable streets advocates have long noted Inwood’s lack […]

With 8 Percent Bump in 2011, NYC Bike Count Has Doubled Since 2007

|
The New York City Department of Transportation recorded an eight percent increase in the number of people biking into Manhattan below 50th street this year. The bike count has now doubled since 2007, when the city’s first on-street protected bike lane was installed on Ninth Avenue. This year’s increase is less than the double-digit increases […]

Eyes on the Street: Parking Meter Reincarnated as Bike Rack

|
Hundreds of defunct parking meters are on their way to a second life as bike racks. Reader Joanna Oltman Smith sends this photo of DOT handiwork on Seventh Avenue in Park Slope, where the columns of defunct coin-slot meters have been awaiting rebirth as bike racks for some time. Muni meters took over many blocks […]

NYC DOT Prepares for 12,000 Parking Meter-to-Bike Rack Conversions

|
The Post reported some good news this morning: NYC DOT has contracted with Louis Barbato Landscaping to make 12,000 bike racks that can be affixed to defunct single-space parking meter poles. A few years ago, when DOT started phasing out single-space meters en masse and replacing them with Muni meters, it seemed like there was […]