Eyes on the Street: Parking Meter Reincarnated as Bike Rack

Photo: Joanna Oltman Smith

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 on Fifth Avenue and Seventh Avenue in conjunction with the Park Smart program.

These new racks should relieve some of the pressure on the neighborhood’s bus stop poles, parking regulation poles, and conventional bike racks, which tend to swell over capacity with bicycles during times of peak usage.

More bike parking should also be coming to the Upper West Side, where 240 meters are slated for conversion to bike racks, and Madison Avenue, which is where DOT’s meters-to-bike racks project got underway in 2009.

A naked meter pole on Madison Avenue, pre-conversion. Photo: Wiley Norvell
  • Josef

    Toronto pioneered this type of conversion with its wide adoption of pay and display through the 90s/2000s: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bicycle_stand#History. I’m going to start getting confused as to whether I’m in Brooklyn or Toronto if they both have the same style bike parking.

  • David

    Hi – Sorry for being a curmudgeon but I don’t see this as a net increase in bike parking and “relieve some of the pressure on the neighborhood’s bus stop poles, parking regulation poles, and conventional bike racks”

    People could use the meters already as bike racks. I do it all the time, not least because they are sturdy and I Think the punishment for tampering with them is severe

  • Danny G

    They couldn’t use the meters in this case because the meters were decapitated, leaving only the poles. You would need really powerful electromagnetic locks to use such headless meters, and those are expensive.

  • Brownstoned

    The meter heads had been removed and replaced with Muni-meters. They were no longer usable as bike parking. They were just poles sticking out of the ground.

    Kudos to DOT. It’s really nice to have a city transportation agency that’s sweating the fine-grained details and making the most of its assets. 

  • David

    ‘K But it’s still no increase over what was there when there were meters – all theyve done is maintain the status quo. Still great that they adapted them rather than removed them.

  • Pete


    I would never have locked my bike to an old parking meter – too much risk of someone pulling my bike over the top if there was a little too much slack in my chain.

    This?  I would use happily.

  • Ty

    I consider it an increase — my u-lock doesn’t fit around meter poles… but it does fit around this!

  • wkgreen

    I’ve bemoaned the elimination of those parking meter heads that left useless stumps without enough bike parking on streets like 5th Ave. in Bklyn. I’m not quite to the point of circling the block like a car, but there are often so many bikes locked onto parking signs now that there is not enough space for mine in the vicinity of where I want to be. This looks like a good solution.

    As a suggestion I would make the circle larger to make it easier to fit more than one bike on.

  • Esn36

    in Chicago they just left the meter heads without the internal mechanism not good looking but cheaper and less work. ( and the money saved could have been used else where). And  we are so desperate for this in Queens… they just removed most meters that that was that. There is no way to lock now. I have to carry a longer heavier chain to use lamp posts etc


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