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.

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