Automated underground systems? Huge Dutch-style bike parks? E-bike docking stations?
The latest cycle parking developments are a mix of realistic ambition and over-complicated, albeit interesting, ideas. Whatever their merits, the common thread is a soaring demand for cycle parking and storage following the recent boom and ever continuing growth in cycling .
Since the early 1990’s, there has been a steady increase in cycling, but it is the shifting urban mobility affected by Covid-19 pandemic that has been the big factor in leading an unprecedented global change.
Since March 2020, the “bike boom” has resulted in bike suppliers struggling to meet demand, the government installing networks of temporary cycle lanes, and researchers considering what impact cycling could have on workers returning to the office.
The societal benefits of cycling – from the environment through to health & wellbeing – are well-known, but for even more people cycling on UK roads, infrastructure must keep pace throughout 2022 and beyond.
So, what developments in cycle parking are we likely to see this year?
Image credit: How new developments are answering increasing residential parking demand
1. Two-tier cycle parking
Two-tier bike racks are no longer a foreign concept in UK cycle parking, but they are by no means commonplace either.
Non gas-assisted racks coupled with misconceptions around their application should be addressed if we’re to unlock the potential for parking hundreds or thousands of bikes in secure, managed facilities or under shelters.
When installed correctly alongside the adequate provision of non-standard cycle spaces, gas-assisted two-tier racks are an efficient, durable, and long-term solution to meet increased parking demand. Within the busiest UK rail stations, cycle parking is approaching full capacity – just visit your local station.
Could we start seeing plans for Dutch-style, multi-level garage parking at our train stations? Or even city based, secure and managed facilities such as cycle hubs or larger basement stores.
2. Answering on-street parking demand
The vast majority of city residents are without garages, and as such, secure cycle parking is a major hurdle for cycling.
“We’ve allowed streets to become dominated by cars. But if you want people to travel differently, then you’ve got to remove the barriers, and secure parking comes up time and time again as an essential part of it,” says Chris Boardman, Manchester’s transport commissioner.
The waiting list for hangar spaces for companies like Cyclehoop helps illustrate that demand is high for secure parking solutions.
And while hangars are an efficient way of using the same footprint of one car parking space for up to six bicycles, particularly in terraced streets, they are not the only way buildings can address rising demand.
Planning requirements for cycle spaces have been expanding over the past few years, and developers are rightly looking to improve the quality and security of cycle parking provision.
3. Utrecht-style underground parking
In Utrecht, a new public underground cycle parking garage opened last year. Located in the city centre, the facility is for people shopping, visiting the city, or working in the surrounding area.
Could we see something similar in UK cities? Oxford Street’s long talked about pedestrianisation plans feature plenty of cyclists without much thought of cycle parking.
Basement cycle parking has many of the benefits of multi-story car parks. Keeping bikes from occupying pavement space, LED screens showing capacity, including hire bike and e-scooter schemes – these are just a few examples of what this investment could bring.
Image credit: Uppsala Central Station cycle parking garage. Photo courtesy of Felix Gerlach and Tengbom
Image credit: Cargo bike and two-tier cycle parking at Brentford Community Stadium
4. More accessible and cargo bike spaces
Last year, charity Wheels for Wellbeing told us just how important non-standard cycle parking spaces are for disabled cyclists. Add to this a rising number of cargo bike sales and there is a clear new demand for accessible cycle parking spaces.
We’ve already seen cargo bike hire scheme trials last year across a couple of London boroughs, with bikes being stored in bespoke hangers. Commercial use – particularly as a quicker alternative for last-mile deliveries – is where cargo bike sales are increasing at the greatest pace, however.
This means that within large bike stores and incorporated into public parking, it needs to be ensured there is sufficient provision for non-standard spaces, correctly labelled for accessible and cargo bike usage.
5. Addressing electric micromobility
E-scooters remain both contentious but, as we see it, an important and exciting sector.
From an environmental perspective it remains to be seen if e-scooter journeys are replacing car use, or just replacing walking and other active travel means. It is this crucial distinction that will likely help inform government policy change on the matter.
Yet, despite this uncertainty, there can be little doubt that e-scooters are here to stay and certainly have great potential to reduce car congestion and pollution.
Much like e-bikes, it is logical to offer charging points integrated with racks and docking stations. It’s both a neat solution to reducing e-scooters in residential corridors and office desks, while offering charging for end-users too.
We’re already seeing larger commercial developments include both e-bike charging and e-scooter docking stations. This is likely to expand as it provides a surefire way of ensuring future growth in e-scooter and e-bike infrastructure is met.
As ever, Turvec’s team pays close attention to all developments within both cycle parking and the wider active travel landscape in the UK. We believe that this knowledge is critical for working with our clients to deliver the most cost-effective and high-class projects.