Thousands more parking places created at stations – but only for cyclists

Thousands more parking places created at stations – but only for cyclists

Cyclists cross the River Liffey in Dublin to launch the city's bike rental scheme
The daily misery of hunting for a space in the railway station car park and being charged up to £20 for the privilege will soon be over for thousands of commuters — if they switch from petrol to pedal power.

The Government will announce today that it is creating 10,000 additional secure cycle spaces at stations as part of a commitment to “put cycling at the heart of transport policy”. Hundreds of stations will get cycle stands monitored by CCTV cameras or with cages accessible by swipe cards. Ministers have not yet ruled out reallocating spaces from cars to bikes.

In addition, ten main stations, Waterloo, Victoria and St Pancras in London, as well as Leeds, Sheffield, York, Hull, Grimsby, Scunthorpe and Liverpool Lime Street, will gain “cycle hubs” offering cheap repairs, cycle hire and supervised parking.

The £14 million of funding for cycle facilities being announced today comes after the commitment last year to spend £100 million to increase cycling in a dozen towns and cities. The Department for Transport has set a target of getting an additional 2.5 million people cycling regularly. It also aims to offer basic cycle training under the Bikeability scheme to half a million ten-year-olds across England by 2012.

Lord Adonis, the Transport Secretary, will say today that Britain’s cities should aim for the same level of cycling as Copenhagen, where 40 per cent of all journeys are by bicycle. Cycling has doubled in London since 2000 but still accounts only for 5 per cent of journeys.

He will say: “For too long we have hesitated to promote cycling — the greenest form of travel — as a mainstream form of transport. Yet more than half of all journeys — including journeys to work, school and college — are of five miles or less. If we made it easier and safer, more people would cycle. Just talk to the people already on their bikes. They sail past the traffic, they enjoy the exercise, they get a sense of freedom. And the cost in petrol? Nothing.”

Lord Adonis decided to invest in station cycle parking after visiting the railway station in the small Dutch city of Leiden. It has supervised parking for 6,000 bicycles — four times the number in all London’s rail terminals combined. A third of all Dutch passengers who travel by train use bicycles to get to and from stations. In Britain the figure is 2 per cent, even though 60 per cent live within 15 minutes’ ride from a station.

The standard amount of funding for cycling initiatives in English local authorities is about £1 per citizen, per year. In contrast, Dutch cities such as Amsterdam are spending between £10 and £20 per year. The cycling subsidy for the 12 towns and cities will be about £8 per citizen, with funding from the private sector and local grants potentially doubling that amount. The 12 are Bristol, Blackpool, Cambridge, Colchester, Chester, Leighton-Linslade in Bedfordshire, Shrewsbury, Southend, Southport, Stoke-on-Trent, Woking and York.

Supporters say that the benefits of raising investment in cycling have been demonstrated in Darlington, one of the Government’s first “cycle demonstration towns”, where the number of children cycling to school has quadrupled.

The hubs will be run on a not-for-profit basis, offering cheap rates for repairs and cycle hire. The Department for Transport said that the hubs would not undermine local bicycle shops because they would expand the whole market by attracting thousands of extra cyclists.

From Times online (UK)