Slate magazine has an article on why free parking matters for car drivers as well as cyclists. The article is interesting, and it offers a number of links to other sites and stories related to the topic. I was especially impressed by the link to a Japanese company that makes underground automated bike storage units that actually look easy to use.
There is a quote in the article about the clutter factor of too many bikes parked on the surface. Like many cyclists, I take the nearest rack or post to lock my bike to; then as a pedestrian I get annoyed at the cycles cluttering up the sidewalks.
While it is impressive to see thousands of bikes parked outside train stations in Amsterdam, Rotterdam, or Den Haague, it is also apparent how much space they take up. And how multimodal terminals can end up eating up so much land around the station we end up with an inaccessible station or unlivable urban environment.