That's miles of public space, given away for free, so that people can park their own personal cars FOR FREE.
It's a terrible use of public space. It gives way too much priority to car ownership. And it renders arguments about bike lanes and parking spaces completely moot.
The chart, put out by the city as part of its request for ideas on how to privatize its infrastructure, shows the total number of metered parking spaces increasing from 72,010 in 2006 to 81,875 in 2010. (That increase, most likely, isn’t due to adding meters to significant new stretches of the curb, but from single-space meters getting converted to muni-meters, which allow more cars to fit on a block.)
That’s an incredibly small number when taken in context. There are between 3.4 and 4.4 million on-street parking spaces in New York City, according to an extremely rough estimate by parking policy expert Rachel Weinberger, based on her field work in Park Slope and Jackson Heights.