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Did You Know?

A bicycle commuter who rides four miles to work, five days a week, avoids 2,000 miles of driving and about 2,000 pounds of CO2 emissions each year.

Parking Meter Update

I wanted to give an update after our Director of Planning, Carolyn Helmke, and I met with the City of Chicago on the issue of parking meter removal affecting bike parking.  The scope of the problem is that between 25,000 and 30,000 parking meters are currently in process of being removed under the current contract.  The meeting was generally good and it is clear that the City is working hard to hold on to meters and replace meters with racks wherever appropriate.  The big issue is funding of any manufacturing and installation of new racks and of retrofit options for converting parking meter poles into bike racks.  Yes, it would have been great if the funds were built into the existing contract for meter removal.  However, the reality is that they were not and in today’s economic environment where the City is rumored to lay off 1,000 employees in the next few weeks, it is hard to imagine the missing pot of gold turning up to save the day.

Where does this leave us?  The City recommitted to leaving one parking meter for every six that are removed.  This would leave more than 4,000 meters.  The City is currently testing various bike rack devices that can be permanently attached to parking meters poles. When the best design is identified, the City hopes implement this solution in 2010. Secondly, 500 – 750 underutilized racks may be relocated to areas affected by meter removal.

There was discussion about placing a cover on the meters that remain that would identify these meters as bicycle parking locations either by stenciling something additional on the green hoods, or by adding signs.  As the racks or meter retrofits become available, they will replace the hoods.  Additional possibilities include working with aldermen to add funds from their discretionary infrastructure resources to match funds the City already has at its disposable.  Chambers of Commerce and SSA’s can assist in these matters if they are inclined.  Both of these are great ideas and members can help with encouraging this activity.

The City has also asked us to help with to things:

1.     

When meters are removed and aren’t replaced with bike parking (racks or a meter pole retrofit), let us know. Send the location (as close to a street address as possible) to   meters@activetrans.org and we will forward to the City’s Department of Transportation.  You can also call 311 and make this request.

2.     

If you are already missing bike parking because of the removal of parking meters, call 311 and tell us about it at meters@activetrans.org

What are some next steps?  The City has some work to do to identify resources for a long-term solution.  All of this will likely get reported to the quarterly Mayors Bicycle Advisory Council.  These meetings are open to the public.  More info about these meetings can be found at http://www.chicagobikes.org/.

Thanks!