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.
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:
- Easy to use
- 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
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.
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.