As people gear up for national Cycle to Work Day tomorrow, a new report commissioned by Oxford City Council has revealed 665 bike parking spaces could be created in Oxford city centre
The report was commissioned by the City Council from specialists ParkThatBike in response to visibly overloaded bike parking in the city centre and complaints about lack of spaces.
The City Council has committed the first £30,000 which could fund over 100 new spaces, and is inviting businesses and organisations in the city centre to help contribute to the project.
Oxford University are the first funding partner, offering £21,000 and a commitment to consider using their own land to increase bike parking space.
The total project to install all 665 bike parking spaces is estimated to cost more than £200,000.
New spaces will be created by installing new bike racks, changing the type of rack and by repositioning bike racks to allow more bikes to be parked.
The City Council has looked at which changes are possible immediately and which would need decisions from other land owners. They found that 114 spaces can be installed immediately, and 107 more can be freed up by moving or replacing current bike racks.
There are currently 3,906 bike parking spaces in Oxford city centre, which increased by 1,020 spaces with the Westgate Oxford redevelopment. The new proposals would increase this by 17% to 4,571 spaces.
The City Council is supporting a range of initiatives to cut pollution in the centre of the city, and providing more bike parking will make it easier for residents to use one of the cleanest forms of transport.
Oxford has the second highest prevalence for cycling at least once a week in the country (39% of residents), and the second highest rate of residents cycling to work (17% of residents).
Councillor Louise Upton, Oxford City Council Cabinet Member for Healthy City, said: “We now know what is possible. Our £30,000 is a down payment on this project, and we are inviting businesses in Oxford city centre to contribute – to help benefit their staff, their customers and the wider city centre users.
“Our clear objective – to improve health, reduce air pollution and cut congestion – is to encourage more people to choose cycling to access Oxford city centre, and we know that a lack of bike parking spaces is one of the obstacles to people doing that.”
Adam Bows, Sustainable Transport Manager at Oxford University, said “The University is pleased to support investment in much-needed additional cycle parking within the city centre to help its staff, students and the wider local community find suitable places to park their bikes securely and in a way which doesn’t inconvenience pedestrians. The University’s contribution is sourced from the Green Travel Fund (income from staff car parking charges) and is focused on creating cycle parking near its key buildings, which are also popular destinations for local people and visitors.”
Andy Chivers, from Cyclox, said: “Cyclox warmly welcomes the news that the City Council is funding more cycle parking in the city centre.
“People riding a bike into town tell Cyclox about the shortage of cycle parking and indeed we know that lack of adequate bike parking puts people off visiting the city centre.
“Quite apart from the improvement for cyclists, proper bike parking helps keep pavements clear for pedestrians and also reduces the risk of bike theft.
“We congratulate the City Council for starting on this programme and encourage them, alongside Oxford’s other city centre institutions and businesses, to continue with further installations as quickly as possible. “
Peter Andrews, Managing Director of ParkThatBike said: “We were delighted to spend time in Oxford assessing the city’s cycle parking provision. The City Council has already made great progress – but more needs to be done. The “low hanging fruit” has already been picked. The challenge now is to find room for more cycle parking and this will inevitably mean reconfiguring some of Oxfords public places and reclaiming road space from motor traffic. Many other great cities have done this and everyone benefits in terms of reduced congestion, better air quality, and increased economic activity. We look forward to working with both the City and County Councils to achieve this.”
ParkThatBike identified 145 locations across Oxford city centre where cycle parking could be installed or expanded. As part of the project ParkThatBike has produced a map, using Google Maps, that lists every the location of every bike rack in the city centre – and where there are opportunities for more provision.
Oxford City Council owns bike racks on publicly-owned land in the city centre, and they are maintained by the City Council’s wholly-owned social enterprise Oxford Direct Services.