Eugene Installs Meter Rings, With an Added Twist…

Wha? Outside Voodoo Doughnuts

Today (tonight, really), we are going to be talking about the downtown meter rings currently being installed to replace bike parking lost back in October when the the parking meter heads were removed from the new downtown free car parking zone.  This has previously been covered by WeBikeEugene here and here.

I’ve re-written this story a few times already, mostly due to new information making the original versions inaccurate.  Another thing that you should know is that it currently is 11pm,  I’m drinking beer (not enough), listening to circus music on Pandora,  and am very tired. These things should combine for an interesting story – I hope.  If not – meh – you’re reading a blog run by a clown.

Before you go on, you might also be interested in knowing that my delay in this story has caused me to get scooped by EugeneBicyclist, KEZIThe Eugene Weekly, and the Register-Guard, but thankfully I have a lot of new information to add to the discussion.

Prior to this week I (like almost everyone else involved), was operating on a few assumptions about the meter rings: 1) There wouldn’t be enough meter rings to cover all the blank poles and 2) As a result only meter poles without heads would receive meter rings.  Then about a week ago I was eating some late-night Voodoo Doughnuts with the wife and I noticed a meter ring installed on the parking meter out front– a parking meter that still had its head.  This made no sense to me. I did a quick survey of the area and found that many poles were still empty, some had no head and a ring, and several pole had rings AND heads.  Operating under the assumption that we didn’t have enough rings for the empty poles as it was, I became very confused. What was going on? Had the city gone crazy? Why were they wasting rings on poles that still had their heads?

It turns out that they weren’t…

Continue reading “Eugene Installs Meter Rings, With an Added Twist…”

Updated: How Free Car Parking Could Lead to the Loss of 165* Bike Parking Spots

The affected downtown area

On August 11th, the Eugene City Council voted to make car parking downtown free, affective October 1st. The area runs from Willamette St to the east, Lincoln St to the west, Seventh Ave to the north and 11th Ave to the south.  Whether or not this was a good idea is a debate for somewhere else.  Will the possible revitalization of downtown offset the loss of $220,000 a year in parking revenue?  I don’t know.  What I do know is that when things like this went down in other cities (Chicago, Oakland, Sacremento, New York,  Toronto, etc) it sometimes led to a huge decrease in available bike parking.

Why? The removal of parking meters.  According to Jeff Petry, Eugene Parking Services Manager, the City Council has directed that left it up to city staff to decide whether the heads be removed off 288 parking meters downtown. This would make the meters inadequate for bike parking since bike locks could simply be lifted off the pole.  It would be a grave mistake to remove 288* 165 bike parking spots from an already inadequate downtown bike parking scene.

* Update: It was just brought to my attention by Petry that many of the meters are double heads on a single pole, so the actual loss in bike parking would be less than the 288. It’s actually 165 meter poles with 288 meter heads attached to them.

Eugene wouldn’t be the first city to make this mistake.  Take the jump to read about some cities that have made this mistake in the past, and how other cities have avoided it.  This issue is real and it is now, and we have only a few weeks to change the momentum of this project.

Continue reading “Updated: How Free Car Parking Could Lead to the Loss of 165* Bike Parking Spots”