Tuesday, 30 June 2009

More secure cycle parking a must for London

from http://www.london.gov.uk/view_press_release_a.jsp?releaseid=22598

More secure cycle parking a must for London

Report available at http://www.london.gov.uk/assembly/reports/transport/stand-deliver-cycle-parking-report.pdf

The Mayor wants to see a million journeys made by bike every day in London by 2025, but a lack of secure cycle parking will hold Londoners back from getting on their bikes, a London Assembly report today warns.

‘Stand and deliver: Cycle parking in London’1, by the London Assembly Transport Committee, assesses cycle parking provision in London – at stations, in public areas, and in residential developments - and finds it falls far short of demand.

A survey2 of Londoners conducted as part of the investigation also revealed that the security of parked bikes remains one of the most serious concerns for cyclists3. Almost three-quarters (71%) rated the security of cycle parking facilities in London as poor; only 2 per cent said it was good.

Poor security is contributing to the tens of thousands of bikes stolen in the capital each year. The number of bike thefts reported in 2008/09 was just over 18,000 but research4 indicates only one in four thefts is reported, making the real annual figure likely to be more than 70,000.

Although Transport for London (TfL) has installed over 53,000 new cycle parking spaces across London since 2000, the number of trips by bike has almost doubled over the same period – and the Mayor wants to see the rate double again by 20255. He is making £2 million available to fund an increase in secure cycle parking – but even TfL is concerned this might not be enough.

The report calls for TfL to publish a clear strategy that covers every aspect of cycle parking provision in London, including an assessment of demand, proposals for new locations, and how available funding will be allocated.

The Committee’s survey asked Londoners for their views on how easy it is to find somewhere to park their bike at a range of locations. More than three-quarters (77%) said there was not enough cycle parking on the high street, and almost 70 per cent said Tube stations have inadequate facilities. Over half said the amount of cycle parking provided in new developments is insufficient.

Joanne McCartney AM, who led the investigation on behalf of the Assembly’s Transport Committee, said: “In virtually every area I looked at, from new residential developments to mainline stations, the situation was the same: there is not enough secure cycle parking in the right places to meet the soaring demand in London.

“Boroughs, Transport for London, rail operators and the private sector need to work together to find innovative solutions to increase cycle parking, or the wheels will come off the Mayor’s commendable aspirations to encourage more Londoners to cycle.”

Specific findings and recommendations:
The report makes a number of recommendations to improve provision, including calling on boroughs to conduct cycle parking audits and for Transport for London (TfL) to publish a cycle parking strategy for consultation by the end of the year.

In line with Transport Secretary Lord Adonis’s comments earlier this week, the report found there is a woeful lack of secure cycle parking at mainline stations. This is despite the efforts of some operators, including First Capital Connect, South Central and South West Trains, to increase provision. The eleven central London mainline stations share a total of 1200 spaces6 for the half a million people they serve each day. The report says that improving cycle parking at stations will require conditions to be built into train operating companies’ franchise agreements.

Central London Tube stations present a significant challenge because of space constraints. The report notes TfL’s plans to install cycle parking in carparks at six outer London stations, but urges them to bring work forward at further locations.

Secure spaces at new office buildings also fall short of demand. Developers are typically required to install one cycle parking space for every 25 employees - while at some businesses one in five employees is already cycling.

To accommodate the growth in cycling, the report notes that the number of spaces required at new developments, including residential, will need to be increased from those in the current London Plan. As well as numbers, specifications should cover design, layout and security standards so boroughs can more easily apply and enforce the guidelines when considering planning applications for new developments.

New standards should be developed in advance of the revised London Plan, which is due in 2011: TfL should produce a draft standards document for boroughs by the end of this year and publish agreed standards as supplementary guidance by the end of June 2010.

Other opportunities to increase cycle parking are also highlighted in the report. These include the Velib docking stations which, when introduced, could incorporate general cycle parking if designed appropriately. Vacant underground car parking spaces may also have the potential to be converted to cycle parking. The report urges TfL to explore both of these possibilities.

Notes to Editors

1. The embargoed report: ‘Stand and deliver: Cycle parking in London’ is available at: http://www.london.gov.uk/assembly/reports/transport.jsp#cycle-parking
2. The survey results are available in full as Appendix 1 of the report (p.29)
3. Research by Steer Davies Gleave (for TfL), Cycling in London, May 2008, p. 32, showed that the security of parked bikes is one of the two biggest cycling-related concerns, along with availability of spaces.
4. Evidence from Bikeoff at a stakeholder meeting on 25 March 2009.
5. Mayor of London, Way to Go!, November 2008, p. 24. This would mean journeys increase from the current rate of 1.6 per cent of trips made in London, to 5 per cent
6. See table on p.22 of the report for cycle parking by station.
7. The report will be considered for formal agreement at a Transport Committee hearing on 8 July 2009.
8. Joanne McCartney AM, who led the investigation on behalf of the Transport Committee, is available for interview. See contact details below.
9. As well as investigating issues that matter to Londoners, the London Assembly acts as a check and a balance on the Mayor.
For more details, please contact Dana Gavin in the Assembly Media Office on 020 7983 4603/4283. For out of hours media enquiries please call 0207 983 4000 and ask for the Assembly duty press officer. Non-media enquiries should be directed to the Public Liaison Unit, Greater London Authority, on 020 7983 4100.