Tuesday 13 January 2009

Portsmouth: cycle parking

This is Albert Road, Portsmouth; a through road with a 30 mph limit. Because of that it splits the two 20 mph zones on either side in half, and means that anyone cycling down here is as exposed to cars in a hurry as they are in every other town.

It's closest equivalent in Bristol is probably Gloucester Road: lots of shops, pubs, people walking around. When you consider that the shops people want to go into are on both sides of the road, it may make sense to give pedestrians shopping more priority than cars or bikes. The bikes come to the area then park, they and pedestrians walk around buying things.

What have they done in Portsmouth for this. Well, there is a lot of bike parking, in places where it is useful and doesn't block the pavement.

For example, here are some outside the mini-tesco. Whereas the new Clifton one has a special double yellow line area for shoppers, here the zebra crossing lets pedestrians in and out, the bike parking lets bikes park without blocking the pavement.

They would get in the way of cars opening their doors just here, but oddly enough, this city doesn't appear to use zebra crossing zig zags as parking (disclaimer: this is the morning of December 29 -it may just be the quiet time). This mini-outlet of the country's biggest supermarket chain appears to actually encourage shoppers walking or cycling over, rather than discourage them.

Here are some build-outs near a school. This narrows the road enough for an aggressive cyclist to acquire exclusive use of the lane, though there's a risk cars may expect to do a 30mph road at full speed. Notice the many pillars on the build out. That is a sign of a problem: cars parking there. Notice also the sheffield rack in the build out. Again, the bikes can park without blocking pushchairs (except for anyone trying to cross the road with a five year old and a double push chair).

Further along, more bollards, more sheffield racks. These could be installed at "troublesome" schools to discourage on-pavement parking and give those people towing their child on a bike somewhere to park.

There's even a set of racks outside a pub. With bikes up on the wall to emphasise that coming out to drink on a pub by bike is an accepted activity. Nice.

Returning to Bristol, there are rumours that cycle parking was dropped from the planning requirements for a mini-Tesco in Henleaze because it encouraged shoplifting (so it is claimed in a marker on Bristol Streets). The Long Ashton co-op was required to have bike parking in its planning permit, it just never added them and N. Somerset council don't seem to bother enforcing it. If the supermarkets in Bristol view cyclists as a threat or an inconvenience, then you don't get bike parking, and driving is the way people will shop.


Anonymous said...

Well done Portsmouth for that, then.

Sadly my local authority is more like Bristol than Portsmouth: it claims to encourage cycling, but I see no evidence of this.

Tim Beadle said...

As the saying goes "what you do is more important than what you say". Portsmouth seems to be more of a cycling demonstration city than Bristol will ever hope to be, label or no.

Anonymous said...

I'm not sure. Some bits of it were nice, but wait for the coverage of the sea front bike lane "problem".

There are also cultural issues to deal with. I've never had anyone in a car find me 15 minutes later and harass me for taking photos just because they were parked in a bus stop and then a bike lane.

PeteJ said...

The LA Co-op got its bike racks eventually, but not until after a few people took their bikes into the shop, being as there was nowhere safe to leave them outside.