This article was published in 2015, in Newsletter 122.
There is a constant demand for more cycle parking. If you build it they will come. This has been proved time and time again, from new cycle paths to increased cycle parking.
I was watching a film about the building of the Victoria tube line in London the other week and it gave me an idea that should get people thinking.
In the film, they decided to build a new tube station concourse just underneath Oxford Circus traffic junction. The road was closed only for about five days during the one year period it took to construct the whole concourse. Actually, they first closed small parts of the road to drill down and construct deep piles that would hold up the station concourse and the road above it. Then they built an ‘umbrella’ over those piles. The umbrella took about three days to construct over a bank holiday weekend. On the Tuesday morning the road was working again just as before, except of course it was now a little higher.
They then dug down underneath that umbrella, constructed everything they needed below, and built a new roof/road. Once complete, the umbrella was removed and everything was back to normal.
Now imagine doing that to Market Square. Building those piles should be easier as it is not a major road. You could move the square up a metre or so and then dig out the dirt from underneath.
I’d go down three storeys. The first basement level would be for rental bicycles, guarded and valet cycle parking, and significantly improved facilities for the market traders. The next two levels would be for bicycle parking. My estimate is that we could easily fit in about 2,500 bicycle parking spaces over two floors below Market Square.