When I had the job of Cycle Theft Reduction Officer at Parkside Police Station a few years ago I soon realised that the most effective use for the project money was to create as many secure cycle parking places as possible across Cambridge. The basement floor of Park Street Car Park then contained 24 car-parking places. We converted this to 51 cycle lockers and 250 Sheffield-style cycle racks.
Back then I was worried that cyclists would not use the facility because it is some distance from the places where people want to be. We take car parks for granted now, but years ago when even these were a new phenomenon, people had to learn to park their car in one place and walk to another.
Cyclists seem to be learning a similar lesson at Park Street where this recent photo shows just how popular it has become. It is still some way off full capacity, but there are regularly well over 100 cycles parked here, presumably because of the better security and that bikes are under cover.
It has taken six years to become this popular, as cyclists have had to discover not only where it is but what it is and how it works (i.e. whether you have to pay – you don’t!). Now that local people have a model of what a cycle park can be like the expectations are raised. Cyclists will soon be discovering how the new Grand Arcade Cycle Park works. That will also take a while to become popular but when word gets around I expect cyclists to flock there too, and then we’ll want to build more.