Replacing Parking Meters with (Actual) Bike Parking

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Thursday, January 26, 2023

Bicyclist kneeling while locking up their bike

Did you know you can submit a request for new bike parking?

Anyone who rides a bike in San Francisco knows: A parking meter is not just a parking meter. Like street sign poles, meters are also a place to lock your bike when you’re out running errands and exploring the city. 

As an agency, we’re working towards the goal of making bike racks and corrals available across the city, wherever people need them. In the meantime, we recognize that informal bike and scooter parking options, like parking meters, meet people’s needs.  

So, when we announced a campaign last year to remove existing parking meters and replace them with pay stations, this brought up a question: what does this mean for bike parking? 

We strive to install bike racks to replace parking options wherever meters are removed. Right now, our bike parking team is focused on identifying locations for new racks in high-demand areas like the Mission and the Financial districts. Currently, we have 125 locations to install new racks in the next 1-2 months. That means a total of 250 new spaces to park your bike or scooter! We’ll continue surveying new racks in the coming months, focusing on commercial corridors and locations along the bike network where many bike and scooter trips start and end. 

Also, we are in the process of installing over 250 racks with space for 500 bikes across the city as requested by members of the public. Through our website, anyone can submit a request for new bike parking, and we encourage people to let us know where these should go next. Overall, our goal is to install at least 100 racks per month.  

There are many reasons the old parking meters can’t stay in the ground forever: they’re inefficient, labor-intensive to maintain, and take up a lot of space on the sidewalk that could be put to better use (like dedicated bike racks). And as a bike parking solution, they're far from ideal: unlike our bike racks, which are installed with accessibility best practices in mind, bikes locked to meters can sometimes block access for seniors and people with disabilities. We ask that cyclists avoid locking their bikes to meters where possible, and to always be mindful of not creating accessibility barriers.

We recognize that meter removal is progressing at a faster pace than replacement with bike racks. Now that the rain has paused, our crews are moving forward with getting new racks in the ground. We look forward to sharing our progress! 

As more and more people choose to bike and roll in San Francisco and move us toward our goal of 80% low-carbon trips by 2030, adding more parking options is essential. Our vision is for secure, convenient parking to be plentiful for anyone who bikes or rolls in the city. Help us reach that goal by using our online portal to request a new bike rack or corral!