Cycle parking in central London stations (and what you can do about it)

Network Rail recently announced they've doubled the capacity of cycle parking in Liverpool Street station, from 116 spaces to 233, using a double-decker racking system.

They're to be commended for increasing capacity to attempt to catch up with demand, and as Robin Gisby (director of operations and customer services at Network Rail) explains they are addressing cyclist's concerns about safety and capacity head on:
"The new double-decker racks are safe, secure and simple to use giving more people the cleaner, greener option of cycling to and from Liverpool Street."  The spaces are covered, easily visible and monitored with CCTV and, more encouragingly still, it seems Network Rail are not stopping there either:
"...[we] will continue to explore ways to increase the provision of cycle racks at stations across the Capital and beyond.”

This is all great, but I can't help but think this is a drop in the ocean when you consider the potential here.  Liverpool Street is London's third largest rail terminus, with some 123 million visitors a year according to Wikipedia.  Network Rail should not be stopping at just 223 spaces if they really want to help to encourage London's so-called cycling revolution.

Consider the small Dutch town of Assen (population 65 000) which has 2,300 cycle parking spaces at it's local train station, of which 754 are guarded indoor spaces.  That's one space for ever 28 residents at the train station alone, according to David Hembrow's excellent cycling blog 'A view from the cycle path'  Oh, and they're about to increase capacity there to keep up with demand...

London's major stations, by comparison, have just 2860 cycle parking spots between them so says London's Evening Standard newspaper.  And a city-wide population of 8 million people.  Some fairly substantial stations, such as the Vauxhall hub, City Thameslink, Blackfriars, Cannon Street, Fenchurch Street and Charing Cross provide no on-site cycle parking whatsoever.

The Mayor of London's efforts to push cycling as a viable means of transport are, of course, a good thing.  But I'm afraid if we are really going to have a cycling revolution in our city (as oppose to just a small increase in cycling levels) the money needs to spent, and the space put aside, to build the infrastructure that will make cycling in London everyday and ordinary.

Still, we are all able to do our bit.  Network Rail is to invest some £3.25 billion into their stations over the next few years, £2 bilion of which will be on stations here in our capital. And guess what?  They'd like to know what you would like them to spend the money on.  And you could win £2000 in doing so.  Hmmm, where to start?  Showers or cycle repair stations?  How about some of those wheel troughs for getting bikes up and down station underpasses?  Or maybe even just secure mass cycle parking at every station?Decisions decisions... Add your voice here.


Mari Lynch said...

Thanks for this post. The Naval Postgraduate School here in Monterey, California has the best bike parking spots in town--bike corrals, protected from weather. On John Steinbeck's Cannery Row, the City of Monterey has 20 bike racks along the bikepath in the commercial/shopping area. We have a long way to go, but the Monterey City Council just adopted the traffic engineer's recommended 2009 Bike Plan, and we want to be known as one of America's most bicycling friendly cities. And if you come visit us, see the free, comprehensive online guide "Tips for Tourists Bicycling Monterey" at Lots of bike rentals available here!

yohabloespanglish said...

Hi Matt, this is the girl you met, whose photo you took along with the very blonde Miss Kitty Valentine, at the 2010 Tweed Run. I don't use my name on the internet, fyi.

This is very good information, and I wanted to chime in with my bit of information: even at peak times, you are allowed to have your bike on overground trains as long as you are not going into the city. I start below the river, though, so I don't know where the cut-off point for this is.

ibikelondon said...

Great to hear from you! I didn't know that about the Overground, thanks for sharing the tip.

Check back to the blog tomorrow for that very same photo you mention!


yohabloespanglish said...

I saw it, nice photo! Kitty linked me to it as well.

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