Vancouver to lose thousands of parking meters crucial for securing bicycles

Councilor Pete Fry wants more of the old single-space parking posts left in place for locking bikes

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A City of Vancouver decision to eliminate 5,500 single-space parking meters over the next two years will lead to a major loss of bike-locking opportunities for two-wheeled commuters, according to councilor Pete Fry.

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in a motion being presented to council next tuesdayFry said the city was transitioning to digital multi-space parking meters that could not be used to secure a bike.

As a result, the motion states, bike riders in the city would lose a huge number of bike-locking spots.

“Parking meters have served as ubiquitous and useful ad hoc cycling infrastructure in the form of a durable street furniture that is usually well located and in clear view of shopping and community destinations,” Fry wrote in the motion.

The motion states there were at least 2,115 bikes stolen in Vancouver in 2021 — the most bike thefts per capita in any Canadian city — and that number was likely understated because many thefts were not reported.

There are 2,422 public bike racks installed on city property and a recognized lack of bike parking infrastructure, Fry said.

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“The deficit of secure bike parking represents a barrier to making trips by bike and a hardship for anyone who has had their bicycle stolen or stripped.”

Fry wrote that the city would retrofit 2,000 of the old parking meters with ring racks — leaving the post in place — and that the old meterheads and remaining posts would be recycled or donated to other municipalities.

He said the retrofit would take three years, while the new meters would be installed within two years, and that more needed to be done to create more lockup spaces for bikes.

He said the digital parking system — by design — would lead to increased revenues for the city and that some of those funds could be used to “develop a more expeditious and robust plan for replacing or retrofitting parking meters with secure cycling lockup infrastructure.”

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