A set of bike racks placed too close together to use are in fact a piece of ‘public art’, a council accused of botching the job has claimed.
Residents of Haringey complained via Twitter that the 20 cycle loops outside Turnpike Lane Tube station were useless, as only a few bikes could be locked to them.
But in an e-mail to a local resident, council officer Peter Watson hit back with the surprising response that the bike racks had been “installed not to be used as cycle stands”.
“The works have been implemented to the agreed design as a piece of public art,” he wrote, according to the Evening Standard.
However he said that cyclists were welcome to lock their bikes to them if they wanted.
The racks were installed as part of a multi-million-pound scheme to overhaul Wood Green, part of it to improve bike parking facilities.
Wood Green resident Craig Brown said: “They are all 90 degrees to the direction they are meant to be in, so rather than getting a bike in each you can only really get three or four bikes locked up rather than the 15 or 20 bike racks.
“The council are saying now they’re an art installation.
“It’s all very odd and sounds like they’re desperately trying to cover yet another balls-up.
“It’s funny because it’s so ridiculously bad.”
Alex Wood, of Noel Park, told the Tottenham Independent the bike racks were “a joke”.
“Somebody needs to be fired for this,” he said.
“Haringey and TfL invested millions in regenerating the area and the job is clearly not finished.”
Nicholas da Costa, the Lib Dems' London Assembly candidate for the area, said: "You wouldn’t walk into the Tate and lock your bike to a piece of art.
"Mistakes can happen in any job – but it’s so important to put them right.
"Haringey Council should now put their efforts into providing a usable bike rack for residents; not declaring the mis-fitted racks a work of art."
A spokeswoman for the council said: “Following public consultation about making a range of improvements to Wood Green High Road, it was agreed that old bike racks should be recycled to create a decorative feature at this location.
“This art installation comes in addition to a number of new bike stands and better cycling facilities to Haringey, and we remain committed to further cycling improvements to encourage more local people to get on their bikes.”
Last week we reported how cyclists in outer London boroughs have been failed by Mayor Boris Johnson, according to a report by the Green Party ahead of this year’s Mayoral election.
Just a fifth of money set aside to fund infrastructure improvements has been spent in the outer boroughs since 2008, according to London Assembly member Darren Johnson - who calls on the next Mayor to make the situation more equal.
The research suggests that inner London boroughs have benefitted from £314m of cycling schemes while outer London benefitted by just £75m.
This comes despite two thirds of all outings by bicycle being made in the outer boroughs.
Mr Johnson said: “We are now seeing some top quality cycle lanes in parts of central London and that is very welcome, but people who want to cycle in outer London have had a raw deal while Boris Johnson has been in office.
“We know that millions of short suburban car trips could be made by bike instead, freeing up road space, cleaning up the air and making people fitter. This Mayor dithered for years, then finally started to build some quality schemes such as the Waltham Forest mini Holland.
“The next Mayor must expand this programme and complete all of the superhighways and quietways in the pipeline to kick start an outer London cycling revolution.”
After an unpromising start, having to be bribed by her parents to learn to ride without stabilisers, Sarah became rather keener on cycling in her university years, and was eventually persuaded to upgrade to proper road cycling by the prospect of a shiny red Italian bike, which she promptly destroyed by trapping a pair of knickers in the rear derailleur. Sarah writes about about cycling every weekend on road.cc.