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topic 33262

Aluminum parking meter poles


I'm researching into Parking Post body tubes (fixed location / outdoor environment). The body part is a basic tube shape. What I'm trying to do is come up with a cheaper alternative to Galvanised Mild Steel.

At the moment I'm wondering if a Aluminum/Copper Alloy would be cheaper. Would the Aluminum/Copper Alloy require a finish? If I can avoid a finish or use a very economic finish it'd be ideal. I've read a bit about anodising but I'm finding it very difficult to pin down the costs of this.


David Simpson
Manchester University Student - Manchester, Greater Manchester, UK


Well that's quite a challenge, David. Galvanized steel is so widely used for this not because it never occurred to the designers to consider aluminum, but because galvanized steel is well suited to the task and inexpensive. Steel is the strongest, least expensive construction material there is, and galvanizing is cheap, very corrosion resistant, and easy and inexpensive to maintain. Offhand there doesn't seem to be an imperative that would drive a change.

Virtually all cost reduction programs are miserable failures, and maybe what you could do is identify what is improvable in the finish instead. If I had the project and were serious about it, I'd get a comfortable beach chair and sit myself down near a busy shopping area or parking lot for an afternoon and actually watch the interface between people and parking meters a few hundred times to try to figure out how the parking meter poles can be improved.

Ted Mooney, Teds signature
Ted Mooney, P.E. RET
Pine Beach, New Jersey


David -

You may want to try 4" plastic poles (grey plastic poles vs. white); grey PVC is stronger.

Ron B.
- Irvine, California, USA


"Small town. Not much to do in the evenin' " <-- (google it if you're too young)

Ted Mooney,
Teds signature
Ted Mooney, P.E. RET
Pine Beach, New Jersey


Hi David,

What Ron said is true ... but PVC, my favourite plastic, would become very brittle in winter.

A weaker but 'stronger ... impactwise) material is Polyethyene but the wall would have to fairly heavy ...

As Ted so rightly pointed out, most 'cost reduction' programmes often fail.

Coonsider, too, that 'others' have probably thought about cost reductions ... maybe galv. steel is the best. Sorry.

freeman newton portrait
Freeman Newton
White Rock, British Columbia, Canada

(It is our sad duty to
advise that Freeman passed away
April 21, 2012. R.I.P. old friend).

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