Cycling down Swiss Cottage high street in North London and ticking off various errands as I’ve done so many times before I pondered a question. How hard could it be to get my local council to install some new bicycle parking here? I’m sure lots of London Cyclists have pondered this question. Perhaps, it’s outside your office where you can only find a lamppost to attach your bike to or near your favourite pub in Soho. I’m always annoyed that there is nowhere to secure a bike near Ain’t Nothing But (careful, video automatically plays on this link).
Surely, all the council have to do is; inspect the site, make sure there are no cables running under the ground where the bicycle stand would go and then plonk it in. Hey presto, you’ve got an extra two bicycle parking spaces for years to come at a minimum cost.
With this question occupying my thoughts I hatched a crazy experiment. I want to see how on earth I can get the council to take this seemingly easy piece of action. After all, our councillors are always telling us they work for us. Plus, the experiment is likely to benefit fellow London Cyclist’s who may have identified similar situations where there seems to be a lack of bicycle parking.
Now, I’m not 100% sure how to proceed. If I was in New York all I would have to do is go online and suggest a new location. This facility doesn’t exist in London. So I guess my first point of call is the local council.
The location I’ve identified looks like this:
Which is around about here:
Swiss Cottage high street is generally a car friendly area with little provision for pedestrians or cyclists. As you can see it’s not the most appealing high street in Britain to walk around and crossing to other side involves crossing a busy A road.
The area has provision for car parking at the expense of a quicker bus journey and a safer cycling route:
Above we can also see the last attempt of a new bicycle parking location which is looking rather drab.
The A41 which runs through Swiss Cottage would theoretically be a good place to add a cycle superhighway. However, at the moment this is not being considered.
There is obviously a need for some additional cycle parking as the next nearest racks are some distance away and full. Cyclist are leaving their bikes on other street furniture:
I’ll let you know how my little Swiss Cottage experiment goes. Perhaps it will be quick and easy or perhaps 6 months from now we will still be waiting for a new bike rack.
Got any tips for me or think this is a good / stupid idea – leave a comment!