31 July 2009

Taking the cross out of Kings Cross

Cycle parking provision at London stations generally is poor. Charing Cross, like Fenchurch St and Cannon St, has none at all. Even Network Rail's PR dept can't put a positive spin on zero.

St Pancras International has a measly 60, which were only installed at the last minute in response to a Camden Cyclists bike demo scheduled for their opening day celebration.

More cycle parking is coming, slowly, in to London's stations. For example, the fairground-ride racks recently installed at Euston. Well, according to the recent 2009 report on cycle parking, Stand and Deliver (PDF), anyway. And up in Waltham Forest, Freewheeler can report some exciting improvements to station parking there.

According to that report, there are 418 bike spaces at Kings Cross. Which means there must be 418 people who get up at 5am every morning to come and occupy them, because whatever time you arrive they're always full. If you're rushing for a train that can clearly be inconvenient, especially if you had to book yourself on a specific service six months in advance to be able to afford it.

But here's a tip. There are some racks recently installed on the traffic island outside the front of Kings Cross at the head of Argyle St (picture). It's very convenient for the station. There always seems to be space there. They're not under cover, so the day you use them it'll cascade with rain, but you can't have everything.

The odd thing about these island racks is that there's no marked pedestrian access. The only way of getting to or from them, without dashing through busy traffic, is by bike. Which defeats the point somehow.


  1. Not sure what you mean by "no marked pedestrian access" - if that relates to the picture, isn't that on a pavement?

  2. Hi Neil - no, it's not a pavement, though I can see what you mean. It is actually an island.

    You can see the eastbound traffic on the left.

    On the right, behind the railings you can see, is two lanes of westbound traffic, just about to hurtle away from the lights and try to run over any pedestrian amber-gamblers.

    Behind you, as you look at the picture, the island stops and gives way to road.

    In front of you, you can see a lane crossing the island, which the tandem has just come out of, from Argyle St - but that's a bikes-only lane. The pedestrian in the white shirt you can see is a naughty man who shouldn't be there.

    Beyond the bikes-only lane is another island which has pedestrian crossings leading to it from both right and left side, but as you can just see, it's separated off from our bike-park island by railings.

    The result is that there's no walking access to the bike park except by dodging traffic.

    If Camden Council can't cope with that, they'd have had little chance with the Konigsberg Bridge Problem.

  3. Also at /www.cyclestreets.net/location/18035/ and 18036

  4. I suppose that should be www.cyclestreets.net/location/18035

  5. Only recently did I realise just how badly off London is in terms of railway station cycle parking. It really is quite remarkable that such a large population are given so few places to park their bikes.

  6. Parking are described on http://www.eurostar.com/pdf/stations/SPI_Cyclist_routes_map.pdf