Tuesday, 16 November 2010

Boris bikes are a strain on the road network, apparently.

Only a brief update this:

Transport for London has City has been asked to provide locations for 200 additional cycle hire docking stations. Those might be extensions of existing stations or entirely new ones.

As I reported here, however, the City is making a lot of noise about not having sufficient space for all these new docking stations. I know that a few people have written in to the City to pressure their local councilmen to ensure these docking station do actually happen. See the response below, which someone posted to the Boris Bikes forum here and the parts I've highlighted in bold.

Basically, the City seems to think pedestrians are different to people who cycle and fails to recognise that some people who walk will be the people who walk to cycle docking stations.

But most frustratingly, the City seems to think that its road usage is simply a status quo that is never going to change. The implication is that Boris bikes are just adding to a constrained road system. There's no concept of restricting motor vehicles further. Only some statement about the fact that people cycling might present problems for people walking and that the safety of pedestrians is paramount.

This all feels like a bit of a smokescreen to me. Cycle hire stations are blocked because they might cause a potential danger or obstruction AND because too many bicycles might be used, which would eat up space on the road? Any idea how many bicycles you can fit in the space of one bus?


I have asked the Corporation’s Director of Planning and Transportation who has asked me to reassure you that the City of London is fully supportive of the Mayor’s cycle hire scheme. He has given me the following information on the City’s involvement with the Scheme.

“Mayor Johnson has now completed phase 1 of his cycle hire scheme. The City Corporation approved almost all of the docking stations which the Mayor's staff at TfL requested within the City. Only a handful were rejected - where they would have caused potential danger or obstruction. The scheme has proved to be very popular and demand has outstripped supply in some areas.

The Mayor has now embarked on phase 2, which will extend the scheme into East London in time for the 2012 Olympics and expand provision in Central London. The Corporation looks forward to responding to TfL proposals for additional and extended docking stations within the City. Each installation will be considered in relation to the needs and safety of pedestrians and other road users. Wherever possible the Corporation will approve these installations at or near the requested location.
In some instances, especially near to stations, pavement and road space is already used to full capacity during peak hours and the potential demand for cycle hire would be too great to accommodate. Over 90% of all journeys made within the City are on foot and it is essential that we protect the needs and safety of pedestrians. Unlike suburban locations, City cyclists are abandoning public transport rather than cars so no free road space is created to accommodate the extra cyclists.

We will continue to support the Mayor's cycle hire scheme and make every effort to assist in meeting the demand for this facility within our extremely constrained highway network.”
I do hope that this will provide you with assurance on the Corporation’s position.