Getting cycle parking right

This article was published in 2013, in Newsletter 107.

New cycle racks surrounded by bare earth.
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The amount of car parking at the Park & Ride site at Babraham Road has recently been increased. This site is heavily used by people (like me) who keep a bike there and ‘Park & Cycle’, rather than ‘Park & Ride’. Even before the expansion work there was a shortage of overnight cycle parking, with about 50-60 bikes fly-parked against lamp posts and fences.

The expansion work added an additional 80 covered bike spaces. While the installation itself isn’t too bad -40 galvanised steel Sheffield Stands with 1m separation -the hard-standing they sit on was only slightly larger than the area that they occupied. Three sides were surrounded by mud, while the fourth butted up against some pre-existing parking. While this looked OK with everything empty, once bikes were parked in the ‘easy’ spaces it was difficult to access the rest (see diagram).

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To make things worse, while the new cycle parking is adjacent to part of the new car parking, there was no way to get from one to the other without a long detour or walking across the mud and pushing through a new hedge.

I mentioned this on the Campaign mailing list, and David Earl sensibly suggested contacting the County direct. I did, and quickly received a response to the effect that the problem had been noticed and that remedial work had been scheduled. Sure enough, at the end of February contractors returned. They added paving stones around the outside of the parking, removed one original stand to improve access, and laid a path through the hedge. All in all these simple changes have converted what was a inconvenient parking facility into one that is a pleasure to use. Thank you, Cambridgeshire County Council.

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This incident does emphasise how important it is to get the detail right when laying out cycle parking, and how easy it is to get this wrong. The remedial work, welcome though it is, no doubt cost someone money and it would have been so much better if it hadn’t been needed in the first place.

After remedial work: extra paving and a path to the car park.
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Jon Warbrick