Thoday Street cycle parking update

This article was published in 2014, in Newsletter 112.

In the last issue I described the cycle parking experiment held at two locations in Thoday Street (which is off Mill Road in Romsey) during September 2013. County Council officers have sent us a summary of the consultation responses which is shown in the table.

For Reasons Other comments
16 Keeps pavement clear of bicycles (x8) Personal security issues of using narrow back alleyway (x3)
Good for short-term cycle parking (x2)
Small garden and lots of bikes
Temporary racks well used
Not had impact on car parking
Cannot manoeuvre Dutch cargo bike into back garden
Good for visitor parking
Prevents hallways being blocked
Is an equitable way of providing for cycles and cars (x4)
There is currently no cycle parking on street and a lot of car parking (x2)
Racks should be at an angle
Need mechanism for removing abandoned bikes
Put racks nearer Empress pub
Against
14 (includes 8 who signed petition delivered by X) Residents should use the back alley and put bikes in their garden – they are just being lazy (x3)
Fear of theft of bikes from racks
Fear of burglary as students leave bikes over summer indicating properties are empty (x2)
Personal safety concerns if have to park car further away
Pressure on car parking (x3)
Danger of bike projecting into road
Maybe
1 Racks should be at an angle so bikes not on the footway

There are about 80 homes in the relevant section of Thoday Street, of which only about 40 are sufficiently close to the two experiment sites.

In favour

There’s lots of agreement that the racks helped keep the footway clear, were well used and were a good way of accommodating visitors’ bikes and those too big to be taken into rear gardens. Several suggest that it is a fair way of using the available space.

Sceptics

Resident X (whom I met on the day the racks where installed) was hostile to the idea of cycle parking, and even hostile to the experiment. The wording of her petition is not stated, and it is not known at how many doors she called. The fact that only eight signed it suggests to me that not very many people agreed with her.

Addressing the concerns

I begin with the claim that ‘Cyclists are lazy’. Access to gardens in this street is narrow, unlit and often muddy. Cars can and do park across the mouth of the alleyways, where there are no dropped kerbs. It really is a struggle trying to park a bike in the back gardens of this street.

As to fear of theft – the racks would improve the current situation where bikes are left on the footway locked only to themselves.

The most surprising result to me is that only three respondents cite ‘pressure on car parking’ as a reason to be against the scheme. But that could be because our own walking survey has revealed that there are around ten vacant car parking spaces even late at night and so it is not as big a problem as might be imagined.

The experimental racks were aligned at 90° to the pavement, but by angling permanent racks at 45° the bikes would be completely clear of the footway and would not jut into the road.

Next step

I’ve based the above analysis on the only official published report of the experiment. It shows a slight majority in favour of going ahead with the scheme. Even among the negative points there is an implicit acknowledgement that the current cycle parking arrangements are not working. Their worst fears about the proposals can be effectively challenged when the pavement parking space is viewed as a resource available to all residents and their visitors, be they walkers, riders or drivers.

We’re now awaiting a decision from local councillors about the next step on this scheme. We think there is a strong case and enough support here to warrant preparation of a TRO (traffic regulation order) to introduce two permanent blocks of cycle parking. A positive go-ahead would increase cycle security and, moreover, make the pavements much easier to walk along.

Simon Nuttall