Thursday, 25 April 2013

Planning for new docks nearing completion

The Standard is running a quite silly article today.

The impression seems to be that hires are in decline, but if we look towards the end of the article, we notice that hires in the first two months of the year are up. And do you remember last March? It was the summer we never had, beautiful weather until the skies opened in April and, with a brief Olympic respite, continued all year. The contrast with freezing March 2013 couldn't be greater.

Over in the Times Matthew Parris has apparently complained he can't find anywhere to dock. I haven't read the article (I don't pay for the Times online) but is the fact that there are tidal flows of bikes during the day really big news? Sure we need more docks and better redistribution, but it was ever thus.

Another fun bit of news was that we might get bonuses for returning our bikes to an empty docking station. 'No immediate plans' is perhaps the take-home message of this article.

There is more concrete news though from the boroughs, where the long and largely unseen process of selecting and approving sites for new docking stations is underway for the southwesterly extension.

In Kensington and Chelsea, by my count 29 docking stations have been approved, with only 4 refused. In Wandsworth 57 have been approved, with only a few remaining to be determined, the most controversial being Lavender Gardens, on which my last post commented. Lambeth have approved most of their latest applications, 19 accepted, 1 refused. The loss of the site on Exton Street is regrettable, as the area around Waterloo is desperate for new docks. In Hammersmith and Fulham, 59 sites have approval, 3 were refused, and 27 are still pending.

It is disappointing that whereas the eastern extension also featured 'intensification' in the central area, this does not seem to be a feature this time. There are no new applications for sites in Westminster and the City.

Within a year all these new stations should be up and running. I imagine March 2014 will see quite a bounce back in hires from those the Standard reports today.

Sunday, 14 April 2013

Boris bikes and bad journalism

Thank goodness few people read the Wandsworth Guardian, because it contains one of the worst pieces of journalism I have ever read. It pains me to give it more coverage than it's due, but here it is.
Boris bikes - a threat to children and blind people? Unlikely

Once you've got over that shock, a few points are worth making. Firstly, at the end of the article Nick Aldworth explains why the power supply has been put in early, and makes it clear that it will be removed if planning consent is not given. The rest of the article is mainly scaremongering. What possible danger can sedately-paced Boris bikes pose to a nursery school, or for that matter, to a blind person? Far less than motor vehicles I can assure you. The loss of six parking spaces is nothing compared to the multiple journeys which will be possible into and out of the area by hire bike. As for the Shrubbery's 'Tudor foundations', has no-one noticed cars have been parking outside it for years? Let me be clear - cars clutter our streets, pollute, and are potentially dangerous. Bikes are smaller, emission free, and safe. My hope for Lavender Gardens is that it will be transformed from a busy motor thoroughfare into a haven for pedestrians and cyclists.

We need a shift in perceptions. One of the reasons given for rejecting a docking station on the Mall was conservation. Yet that street is a busy dual carriageway, with a car/coach park down one side. I hope Wandsworth, and other councils, will see through this sort of nonsense and embrace cycling as a safe, clean and healthy mode of urban transport fit for our future. I look forward to docking in Lavender Gardens soon.

Monday, 8 April 2013

New docks in Kensington and Chelsea

The Royal Borough has kindly sent me this map of potential new docking stations in the borough. Some have already been determined, 11 are currently in process. Note they fall in two clusters, to the northwest and southwest, filling in those parts of K&C not already covered by the scheme.

New docks for Kensington and Chelsea. To view the image in greater detail right click on the picture and click 'Open Link in New Tab'

Together with the map of docks in H&F and the list of sites in Wandsworth (see earlier posts) we are starting to get some clear picture of how the new zones will look.

The proposals for K&C look good, but only if they get permission for all the sites. There is still time to submit comments on the 11 sites still being decided - go to the Planning page and search for 'cycle hire'.

Thursday, 4 April 2013

Construction starts on new docks

Work has begun to build the new docking stations which will extend the scheme south and west. They look set to become operational in the autumn.

Details of the docks being planned in Wandsworth are available here.

Other boroughs included in the extension are Hammersmith and Fulham, Lambeth, and Kensington and Chelsea. Plus there will be a few new docks in the existing zones.

Some useful background is provided in this TfL paper.