Tuesday 21 June 2011

Cycle stand provision in Waltham Forest – WTF?

A sub-theme of this blog is that cycle stand provision in this borough is patchy, incoherent and generally inadequate.

I was therefore stunned to discover this on the Black Path. Ten spanking new cycle stands with a shelter. Brilliant! Just what the Town Square needs.

Now perhaps I have finally lost my mind but the question which springs into its muddy depths is: why here? The Black Path is a route that takes cyclists out of south Walthamstow via the imaginatively named South Access Road through an industrial estate and into the prize-winning Orient Way cycle path and the Lea Valley.

The stands have been sited where the Black Path is cut in two by Argall Avenue (the path has been there for at least 500 years but obviously a newish road for motor vehicles takes priority as it would be intolerable to give pedestrians and cyclists priority on an historic right of way). Here, the right of way has been snatched for motor vehicles and no crossing facility has been provided. It’s a lethal road to get across as it’s a few metres from a roundabout, with commercial vehicles whizzing round the corner at speed, not expecting to encounter cyclists or pedestrians in what is otherwise a bleak industrial estate. It would not surprise me if one day a pedestrian or cyclist is hit here and seriously injured or killed. There aren’t even any warning signs advising drivers that this apparently desolate location might suddenly manifest such species as bipeds or velocipedists.

As far as I’m aware there are no retail units on this estate open to shoppers. There are no leisure facilities. So the question is: who on earth is going to park their bikes here in this lonely godforsaken spot? Even the tiny numbers of workers who arrive here by bike will almost certainly shun it, preferring to store their bikes at their workplace.

I am therefore fully expecting to cycle past this fabulous (by dismal UK standards) facility and find it completely empty. Always and forever, until the last syllable of recorded time.