Sunday, October 08, 2006

baby steps

But a step in the right direction nonetheless. In case you missed the article in yesterday's paper. Almost makes Winnipeg look like Toronto.

Parking meters become bike racks

The installation of 300 solar-powered parking pay stations (in background) is making street bike racks possible. THE city has begun transforming dozens of rusty old parking meters into new bike racks all over downtown. Crews from the parking authority are already popping the heads off the old meters around the University of Winnipeg, down Portage Avenue and along Broadway so they can install bike rings around the leftover poles.

It's part of a plan to salvage some of the 2,500 obsolete parking meters now that the city is replacing them with 300 solar-powered pay stations. About 100 bike rings should be installed over the next few months, and the Exchange District BIZ is overseeing the installation of 50 more in the historic warehouse district. Those will be concentrated around Red River College and near the shops and cafés around Albert and Arthur streets.

"It's now going to be a novel way to encourage people to use an alternative mode of transportation," said Brian Timmerman of the Exchange District BIZ. Already there are a few bike rings in place in front of the Public Safety Building, but it may be spring before they reach a critical mass in the Exchange. Dave Hill, head of the new parking authority, said old meters that aren't turned into bike rings will be removed to make snow-clearing easier.

More bike rings can be added at any time, he said.

The new solar-power pay stations are part of a major overhaul of the city's parking facilities. They accept credit cards and all kinds of cash and allow for about 10 per cent more curbside parking.

OTT: Townes Van Zandt, Heavenly Houseboat Blues. Neither Asia nor Europe.

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