City crews are installing 375 'meter hitches' around downtown and along Lake Street, restoring the parking meter to its honored place as a favored bike lockup spot.

The metal rings will provide even more security than the old big-head meters, which at least served as an obstacle to anyone trying to slide a locked bike up and off a meter standard. The new meter poles with only a slender number display were not a deterrent.

The 375 hitches now being wrenched into place are being paid for with a $37,000 federal non-motorized transportation grant. That's on top of the 180 installed last year, paid for the city and local businesses.

About 250 of the current batch had been installed before the snow arrived Tuesday. But Atif Saeed, parking systems manager for the city, said the work will continue even with winter setting in, because the demand will likely be there.

"Bikers surprise me in this town, sometimes," he said.