Saturday, March 22, 2008

Coleridge Cycle Parking

The photo below was taking on a normal working day last week at the junction of Cherry Hinton Road and Hills Road:

Bikes are parked everywhere - its hard to make out but there are also huge numbers of bikes parked against the railings on the opposite side of the road, and slightly further out of town, the bikes are two deep outside Hills Road Sixth Form College. Cambridge Cycling Campaign are campaigning hard for more cycle parking in Cambridge, and with cycle theft a huge problem, the lack of convenient, secure cycle parking becomes a real barrier to increased cycling in the city - missing out on the environmental and health benefits that cycling brings.

How can we have got into this state? This area is surrounded by modern developments (and the picture is similar outside the new flats at the top end of Rustat Road) - our planners really should have insisted on adequate cycling parking.

The planning rules governing new developments are a combination of central government policy 'guidance', and locally determined planning policy as set out in the Cambridge local plan. Have a look at appendices C and D. The car parking standards (appendix C) specify a maximum - typically one space per house, and funnily enough, this aspect of the plan appears to be non-negotiable when the Council approves new developments. Result - many new developments have built in parking problems by design because developers aren't allowed to build enough parking spaces. Appendix D specifies minimum cycle parking standards for new developments - excellent, except this aspect of the local plan is one the Council always seems to have problems enforcing. There was much debate when the Leisure Park was approved as to why they weren't going to insist on their minimum standards, and there is another argument raging about why the cycle parking for the Grand Arcade is so behind schedule.

Allocating land use to transport and parking in existing, heavily developed areas is always going to be problematic. Failing to get cycle parking, car parking and transport infrastructure right in new developments is inexcusable. I don't believe we are planning responsibly for the future development of Cambridge, and we desperately need some real scrutiny of what is going on in City planning. But in the meantime, Coleridge desperately needs more secure cycle parking.

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