Friday, January 09, 2009

Baltimore rocks!

Or at least is doing the right thing with their old parking meters.

Why or why can't NYC just do this instead of make a big deal about new bike parking while taking away almost all good bike parking (parking meters) in the city?

(photo by bosconet via Streetsblog.)

12 comments:

Gilighan Qabista said...

This city does everything ass backwards. You'll see it as a bicyclist. You'll see it as a cabbie.

NYC taxi photo said...

I was under the impression that meters were a bad place to lock: people could pull the bikes right over the meter (unless the meter is a double or the lock is small) and if the meter is attached to a subway vent, it can be removed.

But yes those new bike racks are probably less convenient then conventional shapes

PCM said...

Meters are the place to lock because they're already designed to be theft proof (so people don't steal the meters and the money in them).

Of course they only work with a lock and not a chain lock. But even a single meter is bigger than U-lock (especially when it's locked to a bike), so you can't life a bike up and over.

But the best thing about parking meters was simply that they were everywhere. There was always something to lock a bike to. Now there isn't.

Sign posts are much less secure... but you end of locking to them anywhere because there is nothing else.

bosconet said...

Hey that's my picture!

(http://www.flickr.com/photos/bosconet/2085628522/)

I certainly don't mind it getting wider circulation but I'd like credit :-)

Anonymous said...

Unfortunately, those bike rings on old meters actually cost more then a new bike rack.

PCM said...

Sorry about that, bosconet. I like giving credit where credit is due.

Anonymous... really? Says who? I'd like to know.

Of course, I'd be happy if they put in a new bike rack for every parking meter they take away.

I just want some awareness that when they take about parking meters, they're taking away an essential part of bike infrastructure.

Anonymous said...

Last summer I locked my bike to a meter off of Vernon by this Italian rest\Bar that I had gone to quite a few times and the owner or manager says to me as hes parking his large red SUV;you cant lock to the meter,my tax dollars pay for that?Its city property.I looked at him astounded and thought I was in mayberry.What? I cant lock with my U lock to go in a corner store for 5 minutes?What about my tax dollars.
Sadly I had gone into his bar about 5 times in the past.Never again A hole.

PCM said...

Depending on my mood, I might have said something like. "No. It's not your parking meter. It's the city's. And the city says I can lock my bike to it. So I'm going to lock my bike right here. And I'm sure you'll keep an eye on it to make sure that nobody fucks with my bike, right? Because your car is worth a lot more than my bike. And I've got a good feeling that if there's any damage to my bike there will also be damage to your car."

The human car said...

Baltimore City cycling advocate here, thanks for the post!

I will note that the meter racks cost ~$150 and a standard staple rack is ~$100. We tried to get the city to offset the cost with the cost of removal of the old meter poles but no such luck. So it did take some pushing to get the meter racks in but luckily at the time we had some money in the budget to do it.

Anyway I am proud of Baltimore's bike rack program and I think it is helping

PCM said...

Fascinating. But what about the cost of post removal and bike rack installation? That's got to be more than $50. But in the world of bureaucracy, that might come from somebody else's budget.

I lived and bike for two years (1999-2001) in Baltimore. In terms of cars being used to bikes and general bike infrastructure, I found Baltimore to be the least bike friendly city ever! That didn't stop me from biking, mind you. But man, bikes were rare. Thanks to the city's small size, biking, as usual, was a great way to get around. It could get a bit scary out in the county.

But it is the only city I've living in where I felt forced to buy a car. But that was mostly because my work all-but demanded it with frequent trips to E North Ave.

I take it things are getting better. And last time I was there, I even noticed some painted bike lanes. Have they got rid of those "death grates" yet? You know, the large sewer grates on the corners with gaps parallel the direction of travel?

The human car said...

Funny I used to bike NYC in the 80-90's before they got bike lanes and I did not find it overly stressful. When I moved to Baltimore I found a bike map which really helped identifying routes. But overall Baltimore is very intimidating to bike in. I am still amazed at the number of the area's colleges that are not bike friendly.

Our current progress in bike facilities can be seen here: http://www.baltimorespokes.org/staticpages/index.php?page=20070815081612328 in the first map.

We got "death grates" replaced all along Roland Ave and in the Trolley Lane in the Inner Harbor through a one time budget item. Still tons more to do which may happen slowly over time or we may need to do another budget push.

And if you have not heard our Mayor is quite the cyclists. She has weekly morning rides from city hall, even in the winter we can have 20 or so city employee's show up for a ride before work.

The Daily Breather said...

Thanks for the post. Baltimore Biker here (as of this Monday). I've seen these bike hitchin' posts up the Avenue here and they are pretty damn cute. I never noticed that they are old parking meters until it was mentioned here. Great way to reclaim the car space. Well, not really. Baltimore took out the meters so they could put in digital meters. Now they can fit in more cars and everyone pays. Ya take the good, ya take the bad.
Cheers!