Are Peterborough City Council anti-cycling?

I started writing this post as a letter to the Peterborough Telegraph but thought I would stick it up on here in its entirety to get as much exposure as possible.

In the same month as many local businesses and organisations celebrate at a Green Awards ceremony, I’ve learned that Peterborough City Council is planning on removing cycle parking on Long Causeway.

Cycle parking, not Peterborough
Cycle parking, not Peterborough. By: SAITOR

To me this all feels like a continued personal vendetta by Peterborough City Council against city cyclists and flies in the face of those declaring the city’s Environment Capital green aspirations.  Removing cycle parking from Bridge Street was bad enough, but also removing them from Long Causeway goes against a number of the Council’s own policies:

From “Peterborough’s City Centre DPD”:
5.1.10 Cycling Provision: Infrastructure to support an increase in cyclists entering the city centre will be a priority for the council. Increased cycling leads to better air quality, less need for wasteful car parking spaces, less traffic on the city centre roads and healthier lifestyles.

From “Cycle Parking Guidelines (2008)”:
The provision of adequate cycle parking has been identified as one of the most important factors in encouraging people to cycle. However, there are a number of factors which must be taken into consideration in order to ensure that facilities for cyclists are well received and frequently used.  When designing cycle parking, it is important to ensure that it is:

  • Accessible
  • Convenient
  • Easy to use
  • Safe
  • Secure
  • Visible
  • Easily maintained
  • Able to cope with demand

From “The third Peterborough local transport plan”:
Table 9: Mode priorities
City Centre Core
Reduction of cars and car parking in the core area with a strong emphasis on pedestrians and cycles,
but also promoting and accommodating public transport

Cycle parking, not Peterborough
Cycle parking, not Peterborough. By: pfahrenthold

By removing cycle parking from the main thoroughfares into the city centre and moving it to out-of-sight side streets, the Council are failing on most of their own key criteria.  If they solely reduce the quantity of cycle parking provision then this is even worse as existing cycle parking is already at capacity, highlighting the need for more, not less suitable cycle parking.

One reason suggested for the removal of cycle stands on Bridge St and Long Causeway is to open the streets up for pedestrians – so how have the Council found the space for what seems to be a semi-permanent funfair along Bridge St?

Instead, why isn’t the Council using the public realm works as an opportunity to invest in cycling infrastructure?  I’m sure we wouldn’t need to spend nearly as much as the much-lauded, yet nonfunctioning Cathedral Square fountains.  Other towns and cities aside from Cambridge and London are improving their cycling offering: York, Stevenage, Milton Keynes, Derby, Bristol, Nottingham, Leicester and Manchester to name but a few that are actively working to encourage cycling as a mode of transport in and around their centres and not just a leisure pursuit.

Cycle parking, not Peterborough.
Cycle parking, not Peterborough. By: Lambert Wolterbeek Muller

By providing safe, secure and convenient cycle parking more city centre shoppers might be encouraged to cycle in to avoid car park charges and lengthy queues along Bourges Boulevard.  More city centre workers might be encouraged to cycle to work safe in the knowledge their bike will still be there at the end of a day’s work.  More families might be encouraged to ditch the car and cycle into Peterborough to enjoy a coffee and slice of pizza.  Instead of more, Peterborough City Council gives us less.

Main image sadly taken in Peterborough.

4 Replies to “Are Peterborough City Council anti-cycling?”

  1. One idea would be to turn the ground floor of one of our multi-storey car parks into secure cycle parking.
    The Northminster car park would be ideal.

  2. I moved to Peterborough to take advantage of the apparent pro-cycling infrastructure. My wife and two children always go into town by bicycle but the council obviously no longer want us to do this.

    With all the automobile fatalities the area has suffered in recent months, you would think our councilors would have more sense!

    The tranquility and relaxed pace of life in many Dutch cities and towns will remain a mere dream until the authorities wake up and smell the coffee.

    A migration to The Netherlands has just come one step closer me thinks!

  3. This really doesn’t come as any surprise to me, especially when you consider that the council didn’t consult local residents when deciding to install the (useless and ugly) fountains in Cathedral Square. PCC seem intent on becoming the ‘Future Green Capital of the UK’ (a sign for which now exists on the A47 near Thorney Toll) but only by ridding the city of anything which might cost them money in installation and maintenance. Yes, we might have recycling schemes which are streets ahead of other cities in the UK, but in order to become a city with worthwhile green credentials (which actually mean something more than just another certificate on a councillor’s wall), we have to be seen to be encouraging residents and visitors to want to walk and cycle around the city. In my opinion they should remove the useless fountains (which no one wanted or wants) and replace them with good quality cycle parking. But then again, when have PCC ever listened to a resident’s opinions and acted upon them…?!

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