Monday 27 July 2020

Controversial Tower's Impossible Parking

Residents of the proposed tower block, 55 West, at West Ealing station would have to climb over other bicycles to reach their bikes and wheel cycles through gaps as narrow as 30 cm to get them out of the building. 

Ealing Cycling Campaign has lodged an objection to the planning application to build 55 West, a new residential tower on Manor Road in West Ealing, because the proposed cycle parking fails to meet planning guidelines. The parking, in the basement of the building, is packed so tightly together that it will be difficult and, in places, physically impossible to use. The arrangement of Sheffield stands, intended for cargo and all-ability cycles, is so cramped that even with standard bikes parked on the stands, there would not be room for a person to walk between them. 

Bicycles superimposed onto the submitted plan show that some bikes could only be removed by climbing over others

A resident trying to take their bicycle from the northern of the two basement stores would have to remove it from a two-tier rack that has cycles parked too closely together, into an aisle that is too narrow, through two doors that are 90cm wide when they should be at least 1.2m wide, then through a 30cm gap between parked cycles, along another aisle that is too narrow and eventually into a lift. 

The proposed cycle parking is so inaccessible that residents are likely to use the ground-level parking at West Ealing station instead. This will be immediately next to the new tower and far more accessible. Evidence from Dickens Yard, which also has basement cycle parking, shows that residents prefer to park at ground level. A check of public cycle stands at Dickens Yard two days apart revealed that 27 out of 32 spaces were occupied by the same bikes, which shows they are almost certainly being used by residents, not shoppers. 

Dickens Yard Public Cycle Parking is mainly used by residents

If the same happens at the 55 West building, there will be fewer spaces for commuters and other travellers to park bikes at West Ealing station, and the council, or Transport for London will have to pay for extra cycle parking to be installed.

Over 1,500 people have objected to the plans for 55 West. The 19-storey building is twice the height of others in the immediate area. Ealing Cycling Campaign's detailed objection to the planning application is available here.