Cambridge rail station cycle parking row continues as new disabled ramp blocked by bikes

Station authorities remove bikes, but cycle campaigners highlight lack of provision as ongoing issue

by Simon_MacMichael   November 5, 2011  

Cambridge railway station.jpg

Controversy over cycle parking at Cambridge railway station – or, rather, the lack of it – continues with reports that a new ramp giving disabled people improved access to the station was rendered impassable for wheelchair users due to the number of bicycles parked on it.

Earlier this week, speaking at the National Cycle Rail Awards, Cambridge MP Julian Huppert, Chair of the All-Parliamentary Cycling Group, had singled out the poor provision of cycle parking facilities at the station as an issue that needed addressing urgently, and that appears to be at the heart of this latest row.

After the disabled access ramp was put in place a fortnight ago, local taxi driver Adrian Maltby complained to station staff about the number of bicycles parked there, reports Cambridge News.

“When they built the ramp about two weeks ago, within about 10 minutes it was full of bikes blocking it up,” he explained. “They removed the bikes and put up yellow barriers but then the bikes were back.

“No way could you get a wheelchair up there and people with bags had to walk around it.

“They just turned the disabled ramp into a cycle park without any thought. It’s just plain selfish.”

The bikes were subsequently removed, with the station operator putting up a sign to inform cyclists that their bikes had been put in lost property.

City councillor Gerri Bird, herself a wheelchair user and campaigner for disabled rights, said: “I urge cyclists to think of others when they park their bikes. It is not just disabled people who are harmed but mothers with pushchairs and the elderly who need the ramp.”

Cambridge Cycling Campaign, however, which in September launched a petition to demand National Express to take action, said that the issue highlighted the urgent need for improved cycle parking facilities at the station, which is currently undergoing a £16.7 million makeover.

A spokesman for the group told Cambridge News: “Anything that looks like a secure structure that people can park their bikes to before using the train will have a bicycle attached.

“We do not encourage people to lock bicycles to structures that would block other people’s movement around the station. Cambridge Cycling Campaign has been calling for improvements to cycle parking for 13 years, and nothing has happened.”

In response, a spokeswoman for National Express East Anglia told the website: “We are working with the county council to explore opportunities to provide additional cycle parking spaces.”

5 user comments

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If the car park capacity is a problem a 2-level car park is rapidly delivered using a structure that can be erected in 2-3 days on the existing car park site. These can even be leased for temporary use, for example when a development closes all or part of a nearby car park.

If anyone has a ground plan I might see what is possible by going up in the world. An elevated structure might also provide covered waiting areas for taxis and buses (with cycle parking on top) plus opportunities for ground level commercial activity (shops etc).

47 years of breaking bikes and still they offer me a 10 year frame warranty!

A V Lowe's picture

posted by A V Lowe [470 posts]
5th November 2011 - 16:27

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It seems the normal routine for bike parking by a train station:

Realise there are bikes locked to everything, so they need more bike racks.
Put in only enough rack for half he bikes.
Wonder why bikes are still being locked to other things.

posted by thereverent [296 posts]
7th November 2011 - 18:52

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Why is it that when ever I read one of these stories or similar that involves some government, council or transport having to solve a problem, you get the stock answer

'we are working with another offical bodies exploring opportunities or avenues'

exploration is always the phase before actually doing something. When I see this phased used by one of these incompetent bodies I take it to mean.

'We haven't yet contacted the other official body and we have no intention of actually solving this problem but we may in some future date pay lip service to the problem'

if they wanted to solve the problem at the station it would be relatively simple if minds were focused in the right direction.

posted by Ciaran Patrick [117 posts]
7th November 2011 - 20:34

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It's because we live in a democracy with clearly defined legal powers and controls. The public areas outside the station will be the responsibility of the the highway authority, who should either provide racks or will be required to give permission for the rail operator to install them.

Councils are set up so that key decisions are made by elected members. Anything that gets media coverage will be referred to a cabinet member and there are checks and balances intended to prevent public money being wasted (although because decisions are made by committee they are often a compromise). That no-one had anticipated the unintended consequence of the ramp's safety rails being used as cycle stands says much about how blinkered the decision makers were.

posted by Campag_10 [153 posts]
8th November 2011 - 7:27

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Campag_10 wrote:
It's because we live in a democracy with clearly defined legal powers and controls. The public areas outside the station will be the responsibility of the the highway authority, who should either provide racks or will be required to give permission for the rail operator to install them.

The public areas where cycle parking is provided outside Cambridge rail station are the responsibility of the station operator. They are not on highway authority land. (The highway authority is Cambridgeshire County Council.)

two wheels good; four wheels bad

posted by cat1commuter [1332 posts]
9th November 2011 - 17:45

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