The CTC has given its backing to Transport Secretary Lord Adonis’s plan to create ‘cycling hubs’ at 10 major UK railway stations.
As we reported yesterday, £5 million has been earmarked for the scheme after Adonis visited cycle/rail hubs in Holland and later cycled round London to see for himself the woeful state of bike storage facilities at major stations.
In an interview with road.cc, Chris Peck, the CTC’s Policy Coordinator, said that while the full details of the scheme have yet to be worked out, it would make a “huge difference”, particularly on certain cycling routes in London where 10 – 15 per cent of those using the routes have started from mainline railways stations.
“I get the feeling that although ten mainline stations will be involved, the scheme is likely to be quite London-centric to begin with, because it’s centred on Network Rail-operated stations and most of these are in London,” he said.
“Also, London that has more commuters by bike and therefore badly needs the facilities. Cycle parking is limited at stations in Manchester and Leeds, but there aren’t as many commuting cyclists. Some 2,500 cyclists use Waterloo Station every day and they’re competing for just 200 cycle parking spaces.”
However, Mr Peck predicted that out of London, Leeds station was highly likely to be a beneficiary of the scheme. As we reported last month, Leeds CyclePoint, the first such rail/cycle hub, is already on its way independently of the ministerial initiative.
Chris Peck praised Lord Adonis for literally getting on his bike and finding out for himself the state of London’s cycle storage facilities. “I think it’s a pretty amazing thing to do,” he said. “This and his visit to the Netherlands to see what they have there means he has taken it very seriously. This kind of hands-on approach isn’t something you usually expect from ministers.”
However, Mr Peck questioned whether £5 million would be enough to enable Network Rail to give full priority to the idea. “If we look at what happens abroad, particularly in the Netherlands, we see that cycling hubs are integral parts of railway stations, and not pushed to one side and poorly marked, like we find at some places over here. I do get the feeling that we might see a lot of retro-fitting of cycle parking rather than more money spent over a long period of time on integrated facilities.”
In a speech to launch the initiative, Lord Adonis said: “I think we can do a lot better,” he said. “There is a big job to be done but I am determined to see improvements in the facilities at our stations.
"I want to see every major station also serve as a cycling hub, as is the case in Holland," he added. "Cycling in Holland is not in the genes, it's in the facilities that are available."
A survey to be carried out as soon as possible will decide which stations are to be used for the cycling trials.