NYC is retrofitting 12,000 old parking meters to turn them into bike racks.
Two years ago, New York City's Department of Transportation decided to transform some of the city's decommissioned parking meter poles into bike racks. In part, it was a way to help fix a new problem: when the city installed an electronic multi-meter parking system for cars, and took out the tops of the old parking meters, cyclists suddenly had fewer places to lock their bikes. Of course, those were never official bike racks, and weren't ideally suited for the task. By retrofitting the poles with new circular loops, the city created many more options for bike parking, helping solve the problem of one spot for every 30 cyclists.
After the initial trial of 200 meters was deemed a success, the city has decided to continue to retrofit the rest of the poles—12,000 in total. It's a smart idea. The city saves money on new bike racks, and makes use of something that otherwise might be torn up and thrown out. And every small step that makes biking easier, whether it's a better light or somewhere to park, helps get more bikes on the road. Other cities, from Boulder to Sacramento, are using similar designs.