New Cycle Parking Strategy for London identifies the problems but under-estimates future demand.

New Cycle Parking Strategy for London identifies the problems but under-estimates future demand.

 

Having a safe place to leave your bike can be as vital to a making a cycle journey as having a safe route. The widespread lack of sufficient cycle parking stands is a barrier to cycling, as TfL’s new cycling parking strategy makes abundantly clear. Without more parking cycling growth will be stymied.

Announcing a welcome £2.5m of funding for parking in the next year, TfL estimates that we need an additional 36,000 more on-street cycle parking spaces, on top of 145,000 existing ones, just to satisfy existing demand. But, , TfL then forecasts an additional requirement by 2025 of just 12,000 spaces even though the Mayor has a target of doubling cycle trips by 2026 from 720,000 to 1.5m. We don’t think this number of additional spaces is anywhere near sufficient to help meet the Mayor’s trip target, and LCC has asked TfL for an explanation of how the 12,000 figure was arrived. We’ll post the response here as soon as we get it.

LCC agrees with Christina Calderato, TfL's Head of Delivery Planning, when she says: 'Enabling more people to cycle is vital if we are to tackle London's air quality and inactivity crises, but many people can be put off cycling to everyday destinations such as their workplace, the shops or the station by a lack of space to park their bike.’

To achieve the Mayor’s cycling targets we need accurate assessments of where parking currently exists and where it is needed. L LCC is helping TfL to address this by contributing to its comprehensive survey of all London’s cycling infrastructure.

Stations – 30% spare capacity outside Zone One

In a welcome, and essential, commitment in the strategy TfL say they plan to have a minimum 20 cycle parking spaces within 50 metres of every underground and rail station outside zone one, and 30% spare capacity. Ten stations will be tackled in the coming year.

The key point about the promised 30% spare capacity is that it will ensure that riders to stations will have the confidence that they can park their bike near the station and catch a train rather than find all stands filled and have to search far beyond the station to secure their bikes. Large parking hubs are promised for major London termini. The potential for growth in trips to stations is enormous: in the Netherlands 40 % of trips to stations are by bike compared to just 2% in the UK.

TfL reports that out of the 516 stations audited outside Zone 1 in 2015, 339 do not meet the new benchmark for cycle parking.

Cycle hangars – 1,400 new spaces by 2020

Another commitment is the increase in so-called cycle hangars on city streets to house the bikes of residents who do not have space in their homes for bike storage.  Hackney and other boroughs have long waiting lists for hangars even though residents are charged for the facility. Currently there are 7,000 spaces in 1,200 hangars across London – that is set to increase by 1,400 spaces across London. A step in the right direction but that’s fewer than the number on the waiting list for hangar spaces in Hackney alone so delivery still needs to be stepped up.

Parking for 82 Schools and Colleges

Medical specialists constantly highlight the importance of active travel by children. In Holland half of education trips are by bike, in London it’s less than two percent. Safe routes are an obvious requirement but cycle parking is also essential. Eighty schools and two universities are to get cycle parking this year under TfL’s plan.  

Theft

In London more than 20,000 cycle thefts are reported each year and unreported thefts could be three times higher according to the police. According to the TfL cycle parking strategy:  “Twenty-five per cent of people who cycle, and 22 per cent of people who don’t, are put off cycling in London for fear of cycle theft. When theft occurred, 34 per cent of victims said they had stopped cycling altogether, or temporarily, as a result.”

Secure cycle parking at home and at destinations is the obvious answer. TfL has identified the problems and its proposed solutions reflect LCC’s longstanding advice, as well as international best practice. New developments will benefit from the improved minimum cycle parking standards in the London Plan that LCC and TfL have backed, but retrofitting existing buildings is necessary as demand grows and incentives for employers have worked before and could prove an answer again.    

 

You can find the TfL Cycle Parking Strategy here.