Video: 'Cyclethrough' of Cambridge station's £2.5 million, 3,000-space Cycle Point facility

Plans submitted showing the UK’s biggest cycle park

by Sarah Barth   January 13, 2013  

Cambridge Cycle Park indicative image 1 (source Brookgate website)

Plans for the UK’s biggest cycle park at Cambridge railway station have been submitted, and we have a video here showing the cyclist's view of the approach and the facilities that could be on offer.

The plans include stairs with ramps to push the bikes up, and the £2.5 million Cycle Point facility will have space for 3000 bikes, in an attempt to end the chaos that is currently the parking situation at the station. There will also be a 230-bedroom hotel located above the bike spaces.

One viewer of the video on Youtube was less than impressed, commenting: "You want us to ride along the pavement, slaloming trees and pedestrians, for how far? 50-100m? Or you actually think its a good idea to open a bike park only accessible on foot? Either way, thats a terrible design flaw. Fix it!

And then I get to the bike park and I've got to go up stairs? You've included -stairs- as part of the bike access? Sorry to ask, but what were you smoking when you came up with that?"

In fact the stairs in to the bike park include up and down channels - much wider than the bike gutters previously installed on a footbridge at Cambridge Station and shortly afterwards scrapped for being unusuable. The channels in these stairways look wide enough for a confident cyclist to ride (whether you will be allowed to is another matter) they are certainly wide enough for a cyclist to push their bike along as they walk up the stairs, which might be the only option during peak times anyway when weight of numbers might make riding up the channels impractical.

As for the need to "slalom trees and pedestrians" before getting to the entrance - the trees look to us like a method of deliniating the cycling and pedestrian parts of the pretty wide footway, although this is one of those cases where painting a big bike symbol on the cyclists's side of the path or simply painting it - light blue perhaps - would achieve exactly the same effect,. The trees no doubt do contribute to cutting the devlopment's carbon footprint though.

Cambridge Cycling Campaign told Cambridge News that the scheme could "go a long way" to ending the chaotic cycle parking at the station which the current shortage of spaces has encouraged, but is concerned that it will not be possible to ride bikes around the building.

Chief executive of Brookgate, who came up with the plans, Sven Töpel said: "We have been working closely with the council and Greater Anglia to come up with a scheme that addresses the substantial demand for more cycle parking spaces at Cambridge station.

"A new station square and transport interchange are important benefits of the cb1 development, and achieving planning permission for the cycle park will be a significant step towards delivery of our plans to create a new transport hub for the city centre."

The development will also include a bike shop, shops and restaurants and Sheffield and double-stacking bike stands.

Near to the station lies the cycle bridge that was driven down by a man in a Jaguar car last week, which was only possible, say police, because thieves had stolen a metal bollard blocking the entrance. It has now been replaced with a concrete one.

12 user comments

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Stairs? Bloody Stairs in a bicycle park - Obviously designed by a non-cycling person...

A lot of money and it's still crap. I despair.

posted by gazza_d [134 posts]
13th January 2013 - 15:54

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gazza I think the grey "lines" in the middle of the stairs are for rolling bikes up and down next to you Nerd

posted by james mckay [15 posts]
13th January 2013 - 18:09

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Why cant the stairs just be ramps?

posted by Some Fella [622 posts]
13th January 2013 - 21:15

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They have stairs with gutters on the famous multi-storey bike parking structure in Amsterdam, near the railway station. And tiny women manage to push their enormously-heavy Dutch city bikes up and down them OK. Roadies with elaborate cleat systems on their stiff, crabon shoes, on the other hand, don't cope so well.

posted by ubercurmudgeon [168 posts]
13th January 2013 - 22:09

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Some Fella wrote:
Why cant the stairs just be ramps?

That sounds like the way to do it but then… 7.54am Monday morning 20? 30? people trying to ride up the ramp all at different speeds, all eager to get the 8 o'clock London train. That's a recipe for trouble on its own, but then add in some poor fella, whose just got off the 7.50 after a nightshift in the big smoke trying to come down the ramp and the station first aider is going to run out of Elastoplasts.

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posted by Tony Farrelly [4112 posts]
13th January 2013 - 22:31

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tony_farrelly wrote:
Some Fella wrote:
Why cant the stairs just be ramps?

That sounds like the way to do it but then… 7.54am Monday morning 20? 30? people trying to ride up the ramp all at different speeds, all eager to get the 8 o'clock London train. That's a recipe for trouble on its own, but then add in some poor fella, whose just got off the 7.50 after a nightshift in the big smoke trying to come down the ramp and the station first aider is going to run out of Elastoplasts.

Separate up and down ramps? Multi storey carparks have up and down dont they?
I cant see the congestion on a ramp being any different than congestion on stairs in the scenario you describe.
What about something like this?
http://youtu.be/7j1PgmMbug8

Or an even more stupid idea - have the bike park on street level? Stupid idea i know but im just kinda putting it out there.

posted by Some Fella [622 posts]
14th January 2013 - 1:14

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So the current convenience of parking a bike and a relatively short walk is foregone and the space given over to car parking! Clearly the concept of speed and convenience was totally lost on those who came up with this concept, extend your ride by cycling AWAY from the station entrance by 30" to 1' parking the bikes (1'-2' and them making a 1'-2' walk back to catch the train. Given that most bike trips to the station will be in the range 5' to 15' the increased journey time (30-100%) will be a seriously perceived failure of this project. Bikes will be locked to the tree guards and steelwork on the direct route to the trains - has no one observed the behaviour of the current users?

A Dutch or Swiss station would have taken the opportunity presented by reconstruction to the station forecourt to dig down at least 1 level and provide a ride-in facility underneath the whole forecourt, which has a short flight of steps up to the station entrance, with a lift access as well (to cater for those who use cycles as mobility aids). I do wonder if the cycle parking building has this provision for those unable to use the wheeling ramps.

The access routes down to this undercroft area can also double up as subways to grade-separate routes for pedestrian traffic to cross the access to the car park, and get to bus stops on the opposite side of the road (ie coming in from Addenbrookes)

The design of the stairs with wheeling ramps looks rather different from that normally seen, although the rake does seem to take account of the fact that the standard 34 degree staircase is too steep. Normally the wheeling ramps are placed at the sides of the stepped access, largely to remove the hazard of a flat ramp to trip over in the middle of the steps. For safety withe there should be handrails down the middle of the twin wheeling ramps shown, or the steps should be split down the middle with a central ramp (2-sided) and side ramps against the wall.

But my comment still stands that the best place for the cycle parking is underneath the bus stops and car parking space right at the front of the station, and if the rail authorities had any sense, should include further parking spaces on the roofs of the platform canopies and parts of the building where the presence of parked bikes does not affect the visual impact of the historic detail of the original buildings.

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

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posted by A V Lowe [433 posts]
14th January 2013 - 6:52

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Stairs! Good one. How about two 1/3, 2/3 width tidal ramps. Both one-way depending on the time of day. Or ANYTHING else.

posted by robert_obrien [116 posts]
14th January 2013 - 11:24

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"British shouldn't copy Dutch cycle infrastructure" shocker?

As people who attended the presentation to Cambridge Cycling Campaign's meeting heard, the first design iteration was for a much longer but narrower cycleable design (with lower capacity) with a less steep incline (which you need because not everyone is fit).

But the effect of this is that you end up walking a longer distance having parked the bike, increasing the maximum time from 1m58s (yes, they have modelled the timings) to about 3 minutes. Some of that you would make up by cycling up, of course, but with the volume of bikes it seems to me that would be limited.

Imagine making the brilliant (cycleable) Amsterdam station cycle park half the length (meaning more floors). It would be a challenge for many people to cycle such an incline:
http://www.cyclestreets.net/location/20306/

Am not particularly keen on the message of a cycle park that you walk in, and the time analysis needs to be checked, but there is at least some logic with a cycle park of this volume and throughput.

Can anyone provide evidence on how many large Dutch cycle parks can be cycled up?

posted by mvl22 [2 posts]
14th January 2013 - 11:39

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A V Lowe wrote:
So the current convenience of parking a bike and a relatively short walk is foregone

Do you live in Cambridge? I don't recognise the "current convenience" at all.

The current experience of virtually everyone I know who has to park at the station is of spending 5 minutes looking for a space, forcing a bike into overcrowded parking, avoiding getting clothes dirty when reaching over a cramped cycle parking space, and generally having to arrive 10 minutes early to deal with this.

posted by mvl22 [2 posts]
14th January 2013 - 12:00

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You can see where they've gone wrong.

"Sven Töpel said: "We have been working closely with the council and Greater Anglia to come up with a scheme...."

Well as any cyclist in Cambridge will tell you, despite having Dutch levels of cycling in the city, the council doesn't have a clue about how to design a cycle facility. Which is why Cambridge has cycle lanes in the dooring zone of car parking, a major new cycle crossing that had to be taken out and redone and multiple other examples of art of the incompetent cycle facility planner. That they have come up with a cycle park up two flights of stairs is no surprise. What would be a surprise would be them coming up with something sensible.

posted by Tony [65 posts]
16th January 2013 - 22:04

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What about handcycle users, or those with trailers, or trikes, or any other non-standard bicycle?

posted by Henz [40 posts]
17th January 2013 - 11:39

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