Cycle parking plans

This article was published in 2012, in Newsletter 100.

32-38 Station Road

Some recent planning applications have placed cycle parking in underground or otherwise inconvenient locations. We were therefore interested to see what Brookgate is proposing at 32-38 Station Road, part of the continuing CB1 development. The current buildings would be demolished and replaced by two eight-storey office blocks. All cycle parking would be at ground level, which means not having to push bikes up and down ramps or stairs. According to the Design & Access Statement, keeping the basement free from bicycles helps to minimises cross flow with vehicles, thus limiting the risk of accidents. Furthermore, the Statement said ground-level parking allows the use of daylight and speeds up the process of parking one’s bicycle.

Sheltered and secured access would be provided in two locations, 236 places in double stackers and 80 Sheffield stands. In addition, there would be 96 (unsheltered) Sheffield stands scattered around the blocks. This gives a total of 412 and complies with the Cambridge Local Plan requirement of 410.

It was nice, for once, to be able to inform the City Council that we supported the application.

Shirley Fieldhouse

Cambourne Secondary School

An example of covered cycle parking at a school in Cambridge.
Image as described adjacent

The County Council has policies to promote walking and cycling. The Government is worried about child obesity. Therefore we wondered how the County Council would tackle these issues in its plans for the new secondary school at Cambourne for the 750 pupils living there. Was the opportunity taken to design facilities to enable the school to become the most bicycle-friendly school in the country, and thus set a standard to which future new-build schools could aspire?

What we found:

  • Number of places: They are proposing 450 cycle parking spaces, calculated as 60% of the 750 pupils planned for; this is the minimum provision required by local planning policy. We believe the potential for cycling is much higher when all pupils are expected to live within three miles of the school, and the local road network is considered to be cycle-friendly.
  • Location: Cycle parking is provided on the boundary of the site, leaving cyclists a walk of around 150m to the school buildings. In contrast, car parking is much more central, with car commuters having only a 50m walk. We believe the car parking and cycle parking sites should be changed around. There is no mention of provision for staff cycle parking – the Transport Assessment appears to anticipate that only four of a hundred staff will commute by bike. Surely that is an underestimate?
  • Quality: Specific reference to quality of cycle parking was missing. We believe it is important that pupils can feel confident when they bring their bikes to school that they will still be there, undamaged, when they want to go home. That implies the use of at least Sheffield-type stands or equivalent. However, it was pleasing to note that it is intended to provide covered cycle stands – that at least would ensure a dry saddle at the end of the day. But what about the wet clothes at the beginning of the day? We suggested that a sufficiently large well-ventilated room and many well-spaced hooks be provided.

Overall verdict: Good start, but could do better. We put these points to the County Council in a more detailed letter in December, and await the results of the next stage in the planning process.

Richard Moss