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Canadian Urbanism Uncovered

Video: City removes heads from parking meters; exposes bikes to theft


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They come by night: workers removing a parking meter in Chinatown

Editor’s note: this first appeared in author Charles Akben-Marchand’s own Images of Centretown blog.

The last couple weeks, the City of Ottawa has been removing parking meters as part of their plan to switch to Pay & Display parking, and convert some parking meters to ring-and-post bike racks. Unfortunately, despite various assurances, there won’t be enough racks to replace the lost meters.

Pictured above is a shot of the City workers removing racks on Somerset street at Arthur:

As was reported in the Ottawa Citizen recently, the City has removed the heads of parking meters on Frank street that still had bikes attached. The City claims they have added a fixture to the tops of the posts to protect the bikes from being stolen, but they do not offer the protection of a parking meter head: bike locks can still be easily lifted over the tops of the posts and the bikes stolen, without any tools.

Ironically, we used to tell cyclists not to lock their bikes to signposts because the signs could be unbolted and the bike lifted over them. Instead, we recommended parking meters (which, since they contained money, had to be securely fastened into the ground). Now I guess the reverse is true!

See the video below for a demonstration of how a bike lock could easily be lifted over the bar. If the lock is only attached to the frame, a thief could easily lift the bike off and ride the bike away, and nobody would think it the least bit suspicious:

If you come across a place where there isn’t anywhere to lock your bike, please e-mail and cc your councilor, especially if there used to be a parking meter there.


One comment

  1. Aside from bike parking in Ottawa being in total jeopardy from this meter fiasco, has anyone tried the new “pay and display” machines? They’re horrible! They must be the slowest models the city could find, it takes much longer than it should to pay for parking; not going to be fun on those -40 winter days . . . also, you can’t “top up” your parking, it always starts from zero so you have to be time your parking/errands/whathaveyou much more carefully . . .