Example of the cycle rack proposed by Virgin Trains
Dynamo has objected to Virgin Trains’ planning application for new cycle racks at Lancaster railway station (reference 19/00002) as follows:
Dynamo wishes to object to this planning application on the grounds that the proposed cycle rack design is cyclist-unfriendly and borderline inaccessible for some people
Firstly, not all cyclists are strong and agile with lightweight bikes, and for such people the semi-vertical cycle racks proposed would be a deterrent. Dynamo members and online commenters have said as much – please see https://lancasterdynamo.wordpress.com/2019/01/10/cycle-parking-at-lancaster-railway-station-your-views-please/#comment-3409.
Secondly, these cycle racks are not good for securing your cycle: there does not seem to be enough room to lock both wheels and bike frame to the rack.
Thirdly, the racks are placed very close together in long lines, making manoeuvring cycles up or down quite problematic – particularly if there are other cyclists doing the same thing at the same time. It’s easy to imagine an uncontrolled descent from the semi-vertical position leaving a few bruises and scratches (to both cycle and cyclist).
Next, there is a risk to the bicycle itself – particularly rear mudguards and mudflaps – from the racks.
Finally, we are not sure why Virgin wants to put in parking for as many as 149 bikes. There are currently 17 widely-spaced-out hoops on platforms 1 and 2 (the proposed site of the new bike racks) and 25 on platforms 4 and 5. Together these hold 84 bikes. More cycle parking is definitely needed on platforms 1 and 2 . . . but perhaps not as many as 149.
We are also disappointed at the removal of the secure cycle lockers, completely without consultation. We have members who use these lockers on a daily basis: they are crucial for storing panniers, lights (essential at this time of year), hi-viz wear, wet waterproofs and helmets before boarding the train. Please re-consider the removal and at least leave some cycle lockers.
To finish, our preference would be:
1. to maintain at least some of the secure cycle lockers
2. to increase the open bike parking by installing more steel hoops (of the kind already in use) in the space left by removing the bike lockers at the end of platforms 1 and 2.
Dynamo contacted the Highways people at Lancashire County Council to express our fear that the proposed new Aldi store on Aldcliffe Road, Lancaster, would increase traffic along Queen Street to join King Street – and hence increased danger to cyclists on the one-way system.
Not much joy. This is the response we received:
Thank you for your email regarding the Queen Street / King Street junction and in particular the safety concerns for cyclists at this junction. Having looked at the accident statistics involving cyclists at this junction and share your concerns regarding the safety of cyclists, however the emerging pattern is that of the 3 accidents involving cyclists 2 involved vehicles left hooking into Queen Street with the third involving a vehicle emerging from Queen Street into the path of a cyclist on King Street. Whilst any accident is regrettable it is unlikely that given the location of the proposed store in relation to the city centre the travel patterns of the Aldi customers will add significantly to the traffic levels through this junction and as a consequence I could not support a highways objection to the proposal.
Notwithstanding the above , I raised your concerns with my traffic colleague for this area and whilst we agreed as to the limited impact of the proposed Aldi store I have been advised that the safety of this junction will be reviewed as part of a wider city centre study.
Dynamo took its own advice and wrote to MPs and to the Lancashire Enterprise Partnership (who funnel central government funds to our county) asking them to ensure that funds are earmarked (rather than be merely numbers on a spreadsheet) for cycling and walking infrastructure.
Unsurprisingly, the letters we received in response were not exactly inspiring, but they serve the purpose of keeping cycling on the agenda. It was also good to see that Lancashire Enterprise Partnership say:
The level of spend on cycling per person in Lancashire should ideally reflect Dutch spend levels of £24 per person per year rather than the average spend of £6 per person in England (2016/17 figures).
Here are the letters:
Cycle lockers on platforms 1-2
At the end of December cyclists who use the bike lockers at Lancaster railway station were given notice that the lockers are going to be removed at the end of this month. The reason given was that Virgin Trains are proposing to install an additional 149 cycle racks on platforms 1 and 2.
Those bike lockers were very useful for those lucky commuters who had somewhere to store their bike, helmet, panniers and waterproofs, and it’s disappointing that they are being removed without any consultation. We have written to Virgin and to Lancaster City Council to express this.
The new cycle racks
The question now is: what about the proposed new cycle racks? Virgin has put in a planning application – ref 19/00002 on the City Council planning website. The Design and Access Statement gives plans, dimensions and pictures of the proposed cycle racks (mostly at the very end of the document): they look like this (below) and will be packed closely together (see very final page) with 1.2 metres between each line of racks. Two of the racks are 60 bicycles long.
Dynamo is trying to imagine what it will be like to wheel your bike along the 1.2-metre corridor (possibly past other cyclists locking their bikes), turn the bike round 90 degrees and have enough strength and impetus to push it up (possibly between two other parked bikes) so that it is secure. How strong and agile do you have to be? What if your bike is not a lightweight model? How easy will it be to control your bike as you pull it down from the rack and it rolls back?
Dynamo will also ask for clarification about the existing Sheffield bike racks: are they ALL staying, or will some be removed?
In the meantime, what do YOU think? This is a new design of cycle rack for our district. Is it a good one? Please leave a comment below or email us.
Diagram of bike racks with measurements in millimetres
A nice little cartoon from Cycling UK:
A new year’s resolution: to look out for odd bicycle signs and symbols. For starters, here’s one from Westmorland General Hospital, which suggests that they really have re-invented the wheel:
Dynamo has received the following reply from Veolia in response to our request to them to commit to a decent route between Heysham and Lancaster:
Thank you for your comments. We are considering a range of transport related matters as part of the preparation of the forthcoming application, working closely with the County Council highways and planning teams. We will of course give careful consideration to sustainable transport modes in terms of broader planning objectives, but also in terms of accessibility for our future workforce. We will take your comments into account as part of that process.
Planning Manager (North)
Posted in Cycling, Heysham