Thursday, 29 August 2013

Superdock for Clapham Junction?

Facing its Waterloo? Docks going in on Grant Road
As part of the southwestern extension of the bikes this autumn/winter, a new docking station is under construction on Grant Road, one of the two exits from Clapham Junction rail station. And it's huge. About 80 docking plates are already in the road surface, and contractors are continuing along the road installing more. Assuming all are put into use there will be space for almost 150 bikes, a bigger station than Waterloo. Good move? On the whole yes, it will catch commuters coming through Clapham who might work with a 30-minute cycle of the station, just as the Waterloo station has been immensely popular in providing onward journeys from that station. Grant Road is also fairly quiet, so it's a good location to site the station.

Nearly 150 docking points coming to Clapham
Two caveats come to my mind however. Firstly, the dock is nowhere near as close to Clapham Junction as the Waterloo equivalent. On exiting onto Grant Road you can see buses and taxis, but the docks will be a couple of minutes walk to the left. In addition, the main exit from the station is actually at the other end, onto St John's Hill. It's not at all evident to me whether any docks will be put in on that side.

Nonetheless it is a bold decision to create this superdock, and when it opens we'll get a sense of how well it works. A major problem with many of the existing docks is that they are too small and difficult to manage well. It's great to see some lessons being learned in the new generation of docking stations.

Also in the news ...

Are Boris bikes coming to East Grinstead? Well, this article says they might be, though no timetable has been set. What isn't clear is that 'Boris bikes' is now a shorthand for any bike hire scheme. Like these articles about Birmingham and Southend. So let's find out a bit more before I head off on my bike to East Grinstead looking for the docking station!

Will Boris bikes endanger the residents of the Ashmole Estate in Oval? Shades of Lavender Gardens here - I shan't say more.

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