Ottawa turns parking meters into bike racks

Some old parking meters in Ottawa will be turned into bike racks as the city looks for new ways of using the old, decommissioned stands.

City converts hundreds of old metres this week

Some old parking meters in Ottawa are being converted into bike racks as the city looks for new ways of using the old, decommissioned stands.

Ottawa's 4,000 parking meters are being replaced with 600 solar-powered pay and display units. ((Emily Chung/CBC))
The city is replacing its 4,000 coin-operated meters with 600 solar-powered machines, where drivers pay and are issued a ticket to display on their windshields.

More than 500 of the old meters will be retrofitted with bars and turned into bicycle parking.

Ottawa parking operations manager Doug Robertson said the idea will help the city deal with two problems: a surplus of old meters and a growing demand for bike parking by commuters.

The city is still trying to figure out what to do with the remaining 3,500 meters. Some will be sold and others recycled, but none will end up in the landfill, said Robertson.

"We can sell them to suppliers who want to refurbish them and resell them to other municipalities," he said. "If necessary, we will talk about recycling the metal from the post. Selling them to a scrap dealer would be absolutely the last possible use for them."

General public can't buy meters

Robertson said the city is reluctant to sell the meters to the general public as souvenirs.

"We need to be very cautious about it. Other municipalities still use single use parking meters and there's a security issue with that.

"We don't want people out there to have the opportunity to look at them and the inner workings of them to try and come up with ways of impacting other municipalities' parking programs."

On the street, some Ottawa residents laughed when asked if they'd ever consider buying a parking meter as a memento.

Resident Patrick Dennis thought he might like one in his basement.

"Maybe for the mancave. [I could] put it in there and remind me of all the parking tickets I've got over the years."

The installation of the new, pay and display meters is expected to be finished soon.