Cycle hub planned for Manchester office block with parking spaces for 200 bikes

Facility proposed as part of the Greater Manchester Commuter Cycle Project

by Simon_MacMichael   April 25, 2012  

City Tower, Manchester

A landmark building in Manchester is set to have a secure ‘cycle hub’ installed in its basement, which will provide parking for up to 200 bicycles, changing facilities and lockers. It is also hoped that the hub, which is planed under the Greater Manchester Commuter Cycle Project, could incorporate a retail outlet selling cycle accessories and providing a bicycle maintenance service.

According to the Manchester Evening News, plans for the cycle hub at the 30-storey City Tower in Piccadilly Gardens, owned by commercial property business Bruntwod, have been set out in a report compiled by the city’s transport bosses, although it does not appear to have been made public as yet on the Transport for Greater Manchester (TfGM) website.

The newspaper adds that the report states that  “Positive discussions have taken place with cycle retailers regarding the retail unit with a view to the letting of this unit by the time the centre is opened,” which is scheduled to take place this summer.

Last year, TfGM successfully applied for £4.9 million of Local Sustainable Transport Fund (LSTF) money which together with local authority and other funding will enable it to develop the Greater Manchester Commuter Cycle Project, aimed at making it easier for people to cycle to work.

The first phase of that initiative envisages more than 1,000 secure cycle parking spaces in 13 locations throughout Greater Manchester, with TfGM saying that access to the facilities would be via a swipe card, with membership available on an annual basis.

In November, confirming that planning applications had already been submitted relating to proposed facilities at Ashton Pool and Bury Interchange and that further LSTF finding was being sought, Councillor Andrew Fender, Chair of the TfGM Committee, said: "The Commuter Cycle Project is a very important first step on the path to achieving the ambitious aims covered by our full Local Sustainable Transport Fund bid, so I'm pleased we're making progress.

"These cycle hubs will provide the foundations for a real change in the way people think about cycling; they will help to break down some of the barriers - both real and perceived - that currently stop people from taking their bike to work."

The Manchester Evening News states that according to the latest report, such facilities are now planned for Rochdale, Trafford, Oldham, Stockport and Wigan, with its authors adding, “Development work has also been undertaken for a potential cycle hub at Media City and a facility at Spinningfields in Manchester city centre. Provision for a hub at the Arndale is also being considered.”

5 user comments

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I really wanted to set something like this up in Bath for all the Bristol > Bath commuters. Unfortunately I don't have the capital, maybe one day I will win the lottery and do it!

All the gear and no idea!

posted by JonMack [170 posts]
25th April 2012 - 15:26

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Glad they are doing this, but I bet you won't be able to ride your bike into the cycle park. Bound to be a steep ramp or lifts involved, along with "no cycling" and "cyclists dismount" signs. Hope I'm wrong!

two wheels good; four wheels bad

posted by cat1commuter [1301 posts]
25th April 2012 - 16:25

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Great stuff. This is across the road from my office and those of us who use the current facilities from the landlord were asked to do a questionnaire on this last year, thought it was a great idea but had died a death.

Bruntwood do things to a pretty good spec so of anyone can get this off the ground they can, although it'll have been appraised as being a cash generator before investing and if the council are chipping in all the better.

posted by johnnyb13 [30 posts]
25th April 2012 - 21:30

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I would hardly call this ambitious. I expect it is a different cycling environment from central London, but the City of London (which is hardly a beacon of light in this respect, albeit better than many) has a strategy which recognises that it needs to find TWENTY SEVEN THOUSAND new cycle parking spaces to cater for 10% of the daytime population of commuters who arrive by bike.

Most of that, realistically, has to be provided by private landlords, and once all planning applications approved up to 2009 have been built, there will be 10,000 private secure spaces in office buildings. From this year under the new planning framework, new developments will require one space for every 125 sqm of office space - quite close to a space for every ten personnel inside, and twice as many as the previous requirements (since 2002).

The City estimated that to provide enough spaces publicly would require a four-storey bike park which would cover an area the size of the Guildhall complex, so clearly passing the obligation manly to landlords is vital. There have been relatively few new public spaces on the street, but a few of the City car parks have had a few car spaces converted to accommodate double-decker bike racks which can typically hold about 20 bikes in the space of one car.

They also encourage landlords of existing buildings to introduce more bike racks, but they don't have the specific power to force them to do this unless a planning consent is involved. All the same, some landlords and some employers exceed the minima - the landlords normally only when a prospective tenant demands it - and my employer for example is opening a new facility (with lockers, showers, and an on-site maintenance facility) to increase our capacity by about 200, taking it to about 525, or about 8% of total staff.

Getting to work on the boss therefore strikes me as a more promising way of increasing the number of spaces.

posted by Paul M [294 posts]
26th April 2012 - 8:36

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A smaller version has just opened up by Victoria station. http://www.popupbikes.co.uk/

To the poster above. Apart from University corridor to the south of the city, Manchester is light years behind London in uptake.

posted by Shouldbeinbed [27 posts]
26th April 2012 - 8:58

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