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.
Tony has been editing cycling magazines and websites since 1997 starting out as production editor and then deputy editor of Total Bike, acting editor of Total Mountain Bike and then seven years as editor of Cycling Plus. He launched his first cycling website - the Cycling Plus Forum at the turn of the century. In 2006 he left C+ to head up the launch team for Bike Radar which he edited until 2008, when he co-launched the multi-award winning road.cc - which he continues to edit today. His favourite ride is his ‘commute’ - which he does most days inc weekends and he’s been cycle-commuting since 1994. His favourite bikes are titanium and have disc brakes.