In recent media coverage about the city of Chicago's parking meter fiasco, an issue has arisen that needs urgent attention from local cyclists. A few months back, a friend posted an item on a local online forum mentioning disappearing parking meters creating a shortage of bike parking in some neighborhoods.
The latest bit of news is that, due to pressure on the new parking meter companies to make up for their screw-ups so far, parking meters will be phased out quickly to ensure more accurate metering and reduce the number of erroneously issued parking tickets. The plan discussed on Chicago Tonight was for 30,000 of the 36,000 existing meters throughout the city to be replaced by pay boxes by year-end.
How does this affect cyclists? It creates a fairly urgent need to get a LOT of bike racks installed really soon. IMO, I think it's critical to emphasize to the powers that be that many of us shop and dine by bike, supporting neighborhood businesses, thus supporting the city's tax base. In light of stories like this, asking for bike racks so that we can help support local business may improve the odds of our message being heard sooner rather than later.