Cycle parking in Kite

Is cycle parking a ‘problem’ in the Kite area of Cambridge and should car parking spaces be replaced by cycle parking?  This is what Cambridge Cycling Campaign asked the County Council election candidates and from their responses there is limited support for this.  Ed Cearns, the Liberal Democrat candidate, thinks there is not a problem with cycle parking because “a number of properties have railings and many other residents have secured loops on the front wall of their property” (he also supports more cycle parking across the city).  Simon Sedgwick-Jell, the Green Party candidate, points out that the “parking of bikes in [the] street [is] a crime problem”.

Informally parked cycles on Victoria Street. Cycles can obstruct the pavement.

Informally parked cycles on Victoria Street. Cycles can obstruct the pavement.

On this wide pavement on Parkside cycles are out of the way.

On this wide pavement on Parkside cycles are out of the way.

There are some 200 cycles parked on the pavement in Kite, I wonder how many of these Mr Cearns tripped over while canvassing the area?  For able-bodied people with normal eyesight a little more care is needed but unfortunately cycles parked against railings and walls in terraced streets are a hazard to those with impaired eyesight (amongst others) in the same way that wheelie bins and cars on the pavement are.  Obstructions and trip hazards caused by cycles are a problem for anyone trying to walk in the streets of Kite.

While many of the cycles are secured to special hooks and railings as Mr Cearns points out, not all are.  Those not secured are at risk of theft with some 163 cycles reported stolen in Market ward in the three months to March 2013.[source]  Due to a concerted effort by Cambridgeshire Police neighbourhood teams cycle theft is falling.  Obviously with many thousands of cycles parked in the city centre theft is not only from residents in Kite.  There are also probably more thefts that have not been reported.

Cycles are not welcome on these railings on John Street.

Cycles are not welcome on these railings on John Street.

The City Council has approved a project to create up to 710 additional on-street cycle parking spaces, in addition to continuing to look for a location for a third cycle park.  However none of these on-street spaces are in Kite.  Market LibDems’ residents’ parking update newsletter says that some new residents’ car parking bays will be added, but there is no mention of cycle parking.

I believe we need some cycle parking for residents in Kite (and other areas of the city).  This parking needs to be convenient and secure.  By providing cycle parking we remove obstructions from the pavement, help reduce the opportunity for crime and make it easier for those who choose to travel by bike.

Cycle parking counts by street

On Saturday 27 April 2013 at around midday I took the following count:

Warkworth Street 36
Victoria Street 27
Parkside (east side, excluding police station) 23
Earl Street 19
Eden Street 19
New Square 18
Grafton Street 17
Warkworth Terrace 14
Orchard Street 9
Clarendon Street 7
Parker Street 6
Prospect Row 5
James Street 4
City Road 4
Adam and Eve Street 4
John Street 3
Elm Street 2
Eden Street Backway 1
Napier Street 1
Total 219
Just a few of the 36 cycles parked in Warkworth Street.

Just a few of the 36 cycles parked in Warkworth Street.

I did not count on East Road, Burleigh Street, Fitzroy Street or the Parker’s Piece side of Parkside because these are more likely to be cycles visiting the area.

The count includes cycles in front gardens as well as actually on the street because I want to estimate the demand.  Note that some properties in the area have internal cycle parking and some have garages that may have cycles in them.  So the total number of cycles parked in the area is unknown but is at least 219.

The vast majority of the cycles counted will be those of immediate residents however we cannot be sure of this.

Update: I did not count formal cycle parking (hooped stands) or car parking.  There is some cycle parking in the area, particularly at the edges, and yet hundreds of cycles are parked on the street.  It has also been pointed out that some bikes may have been abandoned.

Motorism in the County Council elections

Candidate's leaflets, nothing from the Green Party yet.

Candidate’s leaflets, nothing from the Green Party yet.

What is the most important issue in the forthcoming Cambridgeshire County Council elections? The £2,000,000 per year interest charge for the Misguided Bus that may never be recovered? No. The £1,000 per pupil funding shortfall for secondary schools? No. How Cambridge will expand over the next decade? No, it’s residents’ parking.

There's a demand for residents' cycle parking in Kite, and other areas.

There’s a demand for residents’ cycle parking in Kite, and other areas.

Sheila Lawlor, the  Conservative candidate in Market Ward, makes the astonishing statement that she will ‘Take whatever action is needed so residents can park.’ I would imagine she is talking about car parking, which is a shame as there is considerable demand for cycle parking too.

Meanwhile Ed Cearns, the Liberal Democrat candidate, believes he can ‘…make the city centre an even better place to live by easing parking problems for residents…’

Labour’s Dan Ratcliffe supports the upgrading of the A14, which is likely to ‘set back a long way‘ public transport, cycling and walking in the city centre according to Tim Bick (leader of the City Council).

This motorism, addiction to motoring, is odd since the lack of cars and traffic is part of what gives the city centre its character.  It’s also odd as we may have reached Peak Car so this expansion of parking is beginning to look like a policy from the last century and not one for the future. The candidates also seem to be re-enforcing the idea that residents own the piece of tarmac outside their house.  It’s not the County Council’s responsibility to find you a place to park your car any more than it is their responsibility to find space for your 42″ TV.

It is also surprising as the March 2011 Census tells us that 40% of households in the Market area do not have a car or van.  So who’s going to represent those against the privatisation of the public highway?