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news, views and issues around Greenwich, Charlton, Blackheath and Woolwich, south-east London – what you won't read in Greenwich Time

Where to park a bike at North Greenwich?

with 12 comments

So, you’ve found a way onto it, and negotiated the secret cycle superhighway up to North Greenwich station. Just before Queen Elizabeth II pier, there’s the left turn to the station… clunk!

Yes, the way to North Greenwich station has been fenced off by some jobsworth. It’s worth reiterating a bit of blindingly obvious history here – the Millennium Exhibition site, aka the Millennium Dome and latterly the O2, was opened in 1999 as part of a “car-free zone”. As environmental concerns rose during the early years of that new millennium, much of that car-free aspect was, er, tossed in the dustbin, with park-and-ride commuters encouraged to fill a huge car park next to North Greenwich station.

But how easy is it to commute by bike using North Greenwich station? Not easy enough. But, to be fair, there is some progress. Having your way to the station fenced off, however, is not part of that process.

I understand that the O2’s owners claim there’s room for 200 cycles to park near their venue. But where? The vast majority use this area in North Greenwich station, under the watchful eye of a snack bar. It’s a bit busy.

There’s some sorry sights here, though… it doesn’t really inspire confidence.


But where are the other cycle parking spaces? How about these?


That’s North Greenwich station in the distance, by the way. Not very appealling.


There’s these, locked away in an old Dome car park that’s now playing host to the London Soccerdome.

So that’s how cycle parking was at North Greenwich until recently – shoddy, to say the least. But in recent weeks, some new stands have appeared, serving students at Ravensbourne and workers at the new office blocks which have sprung up…


So there’s hope. A third rack appeared outside Ravensbourne after I took these photos. But what’s needed is a proper facility as close to the station as possible – there’s room at Peninsula Square – and some people already (presumably illicitly) park there.


Transport for London could help too – there’s plenty of space by the North Greenwich taxi rank, if cabbies and cyclists can learn to live with each other.

Finally, navigating around the Dome site is not easy, especially on event nights. This is a little easier now with the opening of a new road, Cutter Lane, which runs to the beginning of the path to the pier – but it’s no good for those who park at the traditional spot by the snack bar.

Fixing this will need heads banging together, and it shows the downside of giving up so much public space to private interests. AEG Europe, the Homes and Communities Agency, Transport for London and Greenwich Council all have some sway here.

But if all these groups can work together – creating a real, easy to access cycle superhighway up to the peninsula, then making North Greenwich a safe and secure place to park a cycle, it could create something unique in London and would be an achievement to be proud of. In the long term, it may just be more useful than anything Boris can do with blue paint.

Written by Darryl

4 November, 2010 at 8:30 am

12 Responses

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  1. Part of the reason why I think venues might be a bit resistant to cycle racks too close to their “front doors” is that frankly, they look a bloody mess.

    One of the rather weirder aspects of the Boris Bike is that the stands always look very neat and tidy – partly due to the fact that all the bikes are identical, but mainly I suspect because they are all facing the same direction and stood upright properly.

    Now, if the bike racks were designed to only allow a bike to be secured in an upright position, and all facing the same direction, I suspect that the aesthetics would be much improved, and venues might be less wary about having a “pile of clutter” by their buildings.

    IanVisits

    4 November, 2010 at 8:38 am

  2. You know, if the Boris Bike scheme also provided secure locking facilities for non-Boris Bikes alongside their stands, I’d join up and be prepared to pay a small charge. As it is, the only time I see the stands, I’m already on a bike so I haven’t joined. But I’d love to be able to cycle up to town without having to carry a lock with me and then spend the rest of the day walking around with a helmet hanging from my rucksack bouncing along with me. I wouldn’t mind at all if the bike were tucked away in a smart Barclays Blue cage-cum-advertising hoarding, just as long as I could deposit bike and cycling paraphernalia in it. Thus the aesthetics would be taken care of at the same time.

    It wouldn’t sort out bike access and parking around North Greenwich, though.

    marmoset

    4 November, 2010 at 9:13 am

  3. Afterthought….”It wouldn’t sort out bike access and parking around North Greenwich, though”

    Although, when I think about it, if there were a Boris Bike park scheme, they could also be used for ”park and ride” interchanges like, for example, at N Greenwich. There would be no bikes to redistribute so it wouldn’t be a major logistical challenge

    marmoset

    4 November, 2010 at 9:25 am

  4. Yes, the bike parking at Nth Greenwich is laughable, although I do usually manage to get a space by the snack bar. I keep an old racing bike with nil street value specifically for that particular journey as I doubt whether a decent bike would last the day there even with a good padlock.

    Incidentally, has anybody used one of those big bike lockers on Greenwich Station platform?

    Steve

    4 November, 2010 at 9:37 am

  5. Nice post. I went to a really amazing bike event at the O2 last week – Mark Cavendish was there and everything! – and it was one of those ironies about how difficult it was to bike there and back.

    To get there I had the option of a grim looking bike path next to a dual carraigeway, where you had to give way to lots of minor side roads, and looked pretty rough and unused (so lots of stones to get punctures from), or the dual carraigeway – I used the dual carraigeway. Then to get to the unsignposted bike stands I had to get off the bike, and wander around up some stairs.

    Leaving, it was late enough to just break all the rules and go in a straight line, ignoring the confusing road signs.

    AnotherTom

    4 November, 2010 at 10:39 am

  6. @marmoset – that’s a great idea about having some bike boxes next to the boris bikes. I’ve been really disappointed that the bike scheme offers regular bike riders in London very little – I don’t need a bike to ferry me around zone 1!

    AnotherTom

    4 November, 2010 at 10:43 am

  7. Oh until they blocked off the entrance from the cycle path I had no idea I could be made so angry by a tiny bit of fence. Grr. It just makes no sense.

    I usually park by the snack bar too, but while *I* think my bike is lovely, it’s not very fashionable in any of the ways bikes are, so am fairly happy leaving it there

    Nikki

    4 November, 2010 at 12:19 pm

  8. Us cyclists, we do like a moan don’t we!?

    I know we get the pretty thin end of the wedge at times, but hey, hop on the bike and all the annoyances melt away in moments.

    Stuart

    4 November, 2010 at 3:04 pm

  9. [...] you think. I’ve already submitted mine, and nagged them about the Thames Path approaches and North Greenwich, they’ll be delighted to [...]

  10. [...] in November 2010, I bemoaned the lack of places to park a bike at North Greenwich station. For years, one set of crappy stands full of half-nicked cycles proved an uninspiring invitation to [...]

  11. [...] at North Greenwich. Not that the area wasn’t short of racks anyway – as well as the thief-friendly stands at North Greenwich bus station, there’s a load outside Ravensbourne and an underused set [...]

  12. [...] in back streets) and suburban cycle hubs at public transport interchanges (which I’ve been banging on about for North Greenwich for about a trillion years, while Eltham or Kidbrooke stations would also [...]


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