Transport MInister, Lord Adonis today announced that £14 million would be spent to create 10 new cycling hubs at mainline stations and 10,000 extra cycle parking spaces across the country too… although those with good memories will remember that he made a similar announcement in June when he promised £5m to create 10 new bike hubs at mainline stations.
Before we get all cynical it should be said that £5m of this is new money and it will have an effect. We also now know where the previously announced cycle hubs will be: Waterloo, Victoria and St Pancras in London, as well as Leeds, Sheffield, York, Hull, Grimsby, Scunthorpe and Liverpool Lime Street, okay, the Leeds cycle hub was already going ahead before the other nine, but it's all going in the right direction. The 10 cycle hubs will be based on the Dutch model – the hub at Leeds station will be called a CyclePoint in Holland they are known as CycleFiets, over here, as over there, the hubs will provide secure parking plus bike servicing and other facilities.
Speaking to road.cc the CTC's Chris Peck said the organisation strongly welcomed the announcement of extra money for station cycle parking and felt it would make a real difference. The organisation's only concern was that the money should be spent proportionately to local need, for instance Waterloo is the busiest station in Europe but has fewer cycle parking spaces than York he also questioned whether all of the stations announced as getting a cycle hub would need all the facilities of a Dutch hub.
Aside from the three London stations on the list which are managed by Network Rail, the other stations on the list could be seen as a reward for Northern Rail – which was already pressing ahead with the Leeds hub and which is owned by the Dutch national rail operator Ned Rail which has argued the business case for providing cycle parking as a means of boosting rail traffic, something which it has successfully achieved in Holland.
Today's announcement of 'extra' money breaks down into the £5m previously announced for bike hubs plus £3m at nearly 350 stations and £2m to improve access for cyclists at stations. The Department for Transport and Network rail will pitch in with £10m with the rest coming from Cycling England (itself a largely Government funded body), and its contribution will come from existing budgets.
While any extra money spent to boost cycle commuting has to be applauded to put the amounts in context in recent years the Dutch government has allocated €360m towards cycle facilities at stations and as we reported back in June the Dutch town of Leiden has 4500 cycle parking spaces alone which for the moment at least is comfortably more than all of the London's mainline stations combined.
Plucked from the obscurity of his London commute back in the mid-Nineties to live in Bath and edit bike mags our man made the jump to the interweb back in 2006 as launch editor of a large cycling website somewhat confusingly named after a piece of navigational equipment. He came up with the idea for road.cc mainly to avoid being told what to do… Oh dear, issues there then. Tony tries to ride his bike every day and if he doesn't he gets grumpy, he likes carbon, but owns steel, and wants titanium. When not on his bike or eating cake Tony spends his time looking for new ways to annoy the road.cc team. He's remarkably good at it.