What’s the point of the CyclePoint?

This article was published in 2017, in Newsletter 134.

Wheeling a bike down from the first floor of the CyclePoint just before it opened.
Image as described adjacent

The CyclePoint enables people to leave their bicycles safely and securely under cover when they use the station. There is space for 2,850 bicycles on three levels, conveniently located at Cambridge station, just to the north of Station Square. It was officially opened in June 2016 though more or less complete and in use by mid-February. The name, CyclePoint, is Abellio’s – they operate the station – and their website says CyclePoint is ‘a unique concept brought to the UK from the Netherlands by Abellio which combines secure cycle parking with increased capacity for cycles, supported by retail, cycle-hire and maintenance facilities in a single location for all cycle-related activity and parking at a station’. There are similar facilities at Norwich, Leeds and other stations.

Rutland Cycling have a shop at the cycle entrance to the CyclePoint which provides maintenance, cycle hire, cycle accessories and cycle sales. Their website says this makes the CyclePoint ‘a true cycle hub strengthening further the sustainable transport options in a city where there is already a high propensity to cycle’.

Left: Pedestrian entrance to the CyclePoint on the right – no signs indicating how to find the entrance for cycles. Right: Station Square – where’s the cycle route?
Image as described adjacent Image as described adjacent
An ofo hire bike user finds an ill-defined cycle route through the Station Square.
Image as described adjacent

The CyclePoint can be reached relatively easily by bicycle from Great Northern Road or through the car park from Devonshire Road or the Carter Bridge. But from Station Road or Station Place (where the Busway leaves its guideway) the route is unsignposted and confusing. There is meant to be a shared-use path along the western edge of Station Square, in front of the shops and cafés, but there is nothing indicating this is a cycle route and it may be partially obstructed by badly-parked bicycles. There is an ongoing discussion on Cyclescape about this camcycle.cyclescape.org/threads/3427.

On the ground floor there is space for tandems, bikes with trailers and so on. Wheeling one’s bike up to the first floor one finds a mixture of Sheffield stands and two-tier racks, which are often full, but there is a second floor, also with a mixture of racks. The exit stairs to the south emerge onto Station Square nearer the station entrance, which is handy if one has cut it fine.

Camcycle has been campaigning for decent cycle parking at the railway station for years and is pleased this has now been provided. It is not perfect and discussions continue with Brookgate, who are responsible for the development in the station area, and the station operators. As well as the issue of access, we are keen to get improved signage, so people can find the cycle park, and are already discussing the potential to increase the amount of cycle parking at the station.

This photo, taken in March 2016 when the Cyclepoint had only recently opened, shows how well-used it already was.
Image as described adjacent

The existing cycle park is very well used – often it is necessary to wheel one’s bike up to the second floor in order to find a space – and there are still a lot of cycles parked around the station area. Abellio’s East Anglia rail franchise agreement includes a commitment to provide 1,000 additional cycle parking spaces at Cambridge by the end of 2020. One suggestion is to construct a new cycle park east of the station, where there is plentiful land, allowing access to the station (and cycle park) from Rustat Road. Associated with this might be a link from the cycle park direct to the footbridge leading to platforms 6 & 7. There’s some discussion of this starting at camcycle.cyclescape.org/threads/568.

Other issues which are being discussed are how to deal with bikes which appear to be abandoned, the value of some short-term cycle parking for the shops and cafés on the west side of Station Square, and what has happened to the proposed stakeholder group. The stakeholder group could provide a useful forum for discussing how to improve the cycle park and cycling in the station area.

Monica Frisch