This article was published in 2018, in Newsletter 139.
It is hard to believe that the cycle park at the main railway station has been open now for nearly two and a half years, after we campaigned for it for many years. Undoubtedly it has been a great boon for the city and people using the station,and for that we are grateful. There is still no real signage pointing out where it is, if you don’t already know, but hopefully that will get sorted out some time later this year. The management of the ground-floor cycle parking leaves much to be desired; these were supposed to be spaces for persons with disabilities or larger cycles that could not be wheeled upstairs, but no plan to ensure this usage has come forward.
The most pressing problem with the cycle park is security. Over the months a trickle of reports started to arrive that people’s bikes were being stolen from right under the numerous CCTV cameras installed thoughout the facility. Now this has become a regular event, and you can see evidence of theft just by walking into the cycle park at any time. I have found cut locks on the floor, bikes with missing parts, and possibly most alarmingly, Sheffield stands unbolted and tossed on the floor, alongside bits of the double decker racks that have been loosened and removed from their place. It appears that thieves are brazenly using spanners to remove the stands, which defeats even the strongest of locks.
We are frustrated to watch the cycle park being disassembled bit by bit in this way, with the investment that Greater Anglia has poured into it, and its very heavy usage. When the police have been contacted they are reported to have said that they will not investigate in the case of any stolen bike that has been left locked in the cycle park for more than four hours, which rather defeats its purpose.
As things stand I still use the cycle park, though only with a bike that I wouldn’t be too bothered to lose. The bigger issue is the loss of cycle parking, the loss of confidence in the facility, and the feeling of insecurity while inside. If criminals can operate so openly and brazenly under the cameras, then it is easy to understand why people might hesitate to go in there.