Cycle Racks at Westgate – update

As I wrote at some length about the lack of cycle parking at Westgate when the new centre opened I thought I should reprint this update from Oxford City Council and Cllr Alex Hollingsworth. It was published on twitter on 27 November.

Statement on cycle racks at Westgate Oxford.

Posted on twitter by @OxfordCity (Oxford City Council) on 27 November

I think it would be helpful to spell out exactly how many cycle parking spaces are to be provided by the Westgate development. The original planning permission that was approved included 1,034 spaces, of which 118 were for the residential units, 184 were in the secure cycle hub, and 732 were in the public realm.

As part of the development 88 spaces were removed from at the northern end of the site in Bonn Square. As the committee report made clear this was taken into account, so the net increase in the number of spaces was 944 spaces in total. Other spaces temporarily removed during the construction phase, such as those in St Ebbe’s, will be replaced and are not therefore part of the calculation.

The cycle hub, which now contains 186 spaces, is fully fitted out and (at the time of writing) is planned to open in a week to 10 days time when the electronic fob operating system has been tested and becomes operational. The residential cycle parking, of 118 spaces, is due for completion soon and will be open when residents start to move into the flats.

The remaining spaces are provided on street, in 25 locations around the Westgate centre. Many of these spaces have been installed, and were installed before the centre was opened – for example in Faulkner Street. Others, such as those on Old Greyfriars Street, can only be installed once the paving works are completed over the next couple of weeks. As of Thursday morning (23 November) 410 of these spaces have been installed, with 384 currently available for use and 26 about to be when resurfacing work near them is completed. This does NOT include spaces currently installed in St Ebbe’s and Pennyfarthing Place, as these are replacements of temporarily removed parking spaces, as noted above.

In order to comply with the total figure in the planning permission a further 320 spaces need to be installed (322 if the public realm figure is treated as a separate target).

Westgate believe that they have identified sites for 350 spaces, and these sites have been or are being discussed with planning officers and where appropriate the County Council to ensure that they do not obstruct access for pedestrians or emergency vehicles. It is believed that there is scope for a increase in the number of spaces in St Ebbes for example.

These remaining spaces will be installed as soon as the areas in question are paved and clear of any remaining construction works, so there will be a rolling programme of cycle parking installation over the next few weeks. However because cycle parking can only be installed once there is pavement on which to install it, it is likely that the final few spaces will only be operational near the end of the final construction works, in the few weeks after Christmas.

In addition, the Council is increasing its resources for ensuring that cycle parking is kept clear of abandoned bikes, meaning that more spaces are available for use.

Historically racks were inspected approximately on a quarterly basis by the Abandoned Vehicles Officer, with a focus on machines which could be considered unroadworthy – having 2 or more repair issues, for example one flat tyre and a broken chain. This narrow definition did not of course include bikes which were abandoned.

The frequency of inspections has now been increased, with all cycle parking inspected at least monthly. The bikes that appear to be abandoned are tagged 7 days in advance or removal, and then stored for at least six weeks before disposal. In additional each rack will be deep cleaned once a year, allowing a further opportunity to identify and remove abandoned bikes.

In addition all Streetscene staff have been tasked with reporting any seemingly ‘unroadworthy’ bikes during their routine work or inspections, and these will be tagged at the immediately rather than being waiting for the monthly inspections.

Councillor Alex Hollingsworth
Board Member for Planning and Regulatory Services