The decision to swap two car parking spaces for two blocks of cycle parking will benefit all users of Thoday Street. Removing car parking spaces in this area is politically sensitive and we had to wait many years before the opportunity to pursue this case arose.
The trigger came at the end of 2012 when the Campaign was contacted by a resident who had seen our Cycle Parking Guide. She wrote:
“Our family do not own a car, cycle everywhere (including my 14 mile round trip to work) and yet we cannot park our bike and the trailer we use for our young daughter outside our house! We must manoeuvre bikes round a muddy path or past the cars a metre from our door and through the house to our garden.”
We got in touch and found two other residents with a similar problem — both also car free households. Almost a year later we'd persuaded the County Council to hold an experiment, and two blocks of cycle parking were trialled in the street for a fortnight.
Take-up was instant and remained constant for the whole two weeks. The initial consultation showed mild support for the idea and was followed up by a thorough survey of the whole street, conducted by the local county councillor.
Well over 100 residents responded and the results were that 61% were in favour of going ahead and 36% were against. Almost half of respondents who owned a car said they were in support — and that was a key factor in the councillors' decision to support taking the initiative to the next stage.
Supporting the exchange of a car parking space for cycle parking is a brave step for any councillor. They have not made this decision lightly. It is a move away from allocating all the available space for parking cars towards a fairer use of the space that includes bikes in the transport picture. We were pleased to note the level of support that it has received.
More secure, more convenient cycle parking raises the status of bikes and will mean that they get used more often. These small factors add up and when combined with better cycle routes and lower speed limits help open the option of cycling to more people. The result is less car dependency, less congestion and ultimately less demand for car parking space.