Friday 22 January 2010

What’s wrong with Leytonstone Bike Shed?

Waltham Forest to benefit as Mayor unveils £10bn investment programme to transform Londons transport network

was the press release from Transport for London back in October 2004.

The menu of improvements included

installation of secure bike sheds at Walthamstow Central station and Leytonstone Underground station.

That’s right, the Walthamstow Bike Shed, which had an early user tribute here but which I would now argue is suppressing cycling.

The Leytonstone Bike Shed opened on 20 May 2005 and I last wrote about it here.

Today the shed contained just three bikes, as well as the remains of two stolen/vandalised ones which have been there for months.

Cycling isn’t flourishing in Leytonstone but the scale of that failure isn't registered because no cycle counts are ever taken in the area. The Leytonstone Bike Shed is a failure probably because it is an insecure facility with a history of bike thefts, because it is located some distance from the station at a site which can be lonely and threatening at night, and because the streets of Leytonstone are not pleasant places to cycle, crammed as they are with parked cars on both sides of the street, one-way systems designed to 'ease traffic flow', bike lanes which put the user between parking bays and overtaking traffic, and streets full of drivers chatting on mobile phones.

(Below) Every cycle farcility must, by the universal law of crap cycling, contain at least one bollard. And where better to put a bollard than right in front of the door to the Bike Shed? Note that the entrance to the shed involves a step. But London cyclists are a tough breed, who don't need namby-pamby stuff like smooth surfaces.