But the highest, noblest use of a parking meter is the securing of a bicycle--that refined machine that brings grace to the streets, strength to hearts and legs, and clarity to our burdened atmosphere....
That's why I was concerned when I stopped on the Larchmont shopping street the other day and saw that DOT was putting up pay stations--those little boxes that accept payment for several spaces in one machine, the parking slots being identified by painted numbers.
I felt that the standard parking meters were inevitably destined to be removed, and so I directed an email query to my local councilmember (himself a regular cyclist).
Well, I heard from his deputy, but at least I heard. She confirmed that the meters were to go. I had asked that in that case they insure that DOT installed many more bike racks than are presently there, and the reply she got from DOT stated that, "Yes, we are adding the pay stations and the meter posts will be removed. I have copied the Bikeways Section to investigate for additional bike racks along Larchmont Bl."
This promises nothing but is a start. I'll keep on them, since, as I wrote them, "This is hardly the time in our history when we should be making practical cycling inconvenient."
Let's hope that DOT decides to make sense here. The bicycle is the future of personal transit. Take away our parking meters, if you must, but then replace them with real bike racks.
Which cost far less than on-street parking does for cars, and take so little space.
Update: One of our readers who responded to this post (unfortunately he didn't sign his name) came up with this brilliant suggestion:
"If the city added a well thought security enhancement to the existing pipe stanchion, when the meter head was removed, the bike parking issue could be resolved immediately and with cost effectiveness."I have forwarded it to both my councilmember's office and the contacts listed in the deputy's response.
Update 2: Sometimes things work out. I just received this from the councilmember's deputy:
"I will and this is what I have received in regards to this matter todayI will see if I can keep track of progress on this small but significant effort.
'Michelle Mowery's group is in the process of getting a contractor to install bicycle racks that fits over the parking meter posts once the parking meters are removed. The Meter Planning Section has been working with Michelle's group to identify which meter posts to keep in each Pay Station areas.'"
Update 3: See what Seattle's done in the same situation at Seattle.gov