Thursday, March 18, 2010

Meter (Post and Ring) Racks Coming Soon

Today I met with Rick Dickson from the Philadelphia Parking Authority (PPA) along with Andrew Stober and Charles Carmalt from the Mayors Office of Transportation and Utilities to get a first hand look at the new meter post rings. I also brought my bike along so we could locate the best position for the ring on the meter post.

500 of the rack kits will be delivered to the PPA in two weeks and installation should begin in less than a month. With up to 1800 rings slotted for installation it will probably take several months before the majority of racks are in place.

Using my bike and U lock and we determined that the bottom bracker of the ring will be 15 1/2 inches above the ground. Hopefully that will work for most normal sized bicycles. It is important to remember that you are locking to the post, not the ring. Also note that these racks generally accommodate a single bicycle, its possible to stick second bike on there in the pinch but the U-Locks tend get in the way of each other.

Demo Parking Post Ring

For those of you who still have doubts, the metal rack is sturdier than it looks in the photo. The manufacturer, Creative Metal Works has improved the design for mounting the circle to the pole. These design changes have been used in Seattle, Baltimore, Sacramento and Boulder.

  • Thickening the rack and the top and bottom mounting brackets, making them more difficult to bend;
  • Adding set screws, preventing the rack from rotating around the post (pre-drilling of the top and bottom brackets by the manufacturer eases thread tapping for the set screws);
  • Adding a center bracket, securing the bicycle icon to the post;
  • Beveling the outside edge, reducing the chance of denting/scratching a bicycle frame
  • The bolts which hold it in place can only be installed with a special tool and can only be removed by breaking them.


CiTTi said...

Community Walk seems to be a great mapping tool for organizing/analyzing data and will certainly help in making powerful presentations on all sorts of land use/street design issues to planners, traffic engineers and community decision-makers. I'd like to see BCGP creating/managing "Community Walk" maps across the Philadelphia region.

Unknown said...

Is there any place in the city where one is already installed? Or else can you let us know later when and where they start appearing?

xero said...

Hey guys. I like the work you're doing with the rack additions to the parking meter poles — but i think you're missing a significant design challenge.

From above... "Also note that these racks generally accommodate a single bicycle, its possible to stick second bike on there in the pinch but the U-Locks tend get in the way of each other." Bike use in Philly is far outgrowing the accommodations provided, even by the newly freed meter posts, and the design of the metal rack to quarter a single bike is unacceptable.

A single rim causes this overlap of normal U-lock use, but a double-rim would allow more locking mount points. This could be achieved by fabricating a new mounting bracket to hold rims on either side of the post. You could also increase the horizontal diameter of the rings to allow for increased distance between the prime mount points (ie locking both the front wheel and frame to the rings). Costs may double, but bike accommodation will quadruple.

I think as a creative city like Philadelphia, we should be recognizing these design challenges and responding to them as a model for others.

Joe said...

They just installed some on the 1500 block of South Street. They're pretty nice, but there is one guy who immediately tried to remove it. He's gone out of his way to make it unusable.