Friday 5 May 2023

Ealing Stations - Where's the Parking?

Ealing is failing cyclists who travel by train and tube. Two years after the new Acton Main Line station opened, there are still no cycle racks in the large area set aside for them; Southall Station has had no cycle parking since it opened two years ago; the council removed the cycle parking at North Acton station five years ago and hasn't replaced it; and the council is now taking away stands from outside Ealing Broadway Station. 

Acton Main Line Station

When Network Rail applied for planning permission for Acton Main Line station, it set aside this large square for cycle parking. 

The planning application showed cycle stands for 106 bikes. 

In 2018 the council's consultation on the station improvements showed 116 spaces in the square.

But since the station opened in 2021, the square has remained empty. The problem appears to be, in part, due to Network Rail. Despite knowing that the area would be used for cycle parking it built the square in a way that hampers the installation of the stands. Poor siting of underground utilities and trespass protection measures have made it difficult to put the stands where they would normally go. Added to that, the station operator, MTR, wants to use about a third of the space for vendors – the area between the red lines below. 

The council was hoping to install parking for 100 bikes, but is amending its plans to fit in with these constraints and will now only install racks for 80 bikes in the square and try to find space for the rest elsewhere. It has already installed a rack of stands on the opposite side of Horn Lane. The council tells us that work on the cycle parking in the square is due to start this month. 

North Acton Station

In 2014 Transport for London gave Ealing £150,000 to install cycle parking for 50 bikes at North Acton Station. The council opened the facility in November that year with much publicity. Just over three years later, in March 2018, when work began on the new station square, it quietly removed the covered cycle parking and reused it in a primary school in Northfields. Five years later, despite plenty of space, there is still no cycle parking at the station. 

We approached councillor Deirdre Costigan about this. She said: "We are looking at options for stands on the square at North Acton. We do need to consider the level of need at each location as we are seeing some evidence that where stands are over provided they are being used as seating and attracting anti social behaviour. However I am confident that working with our community safety team we can ensure we have the optimal number of stands at North Acton station." 

Southall Station

There is better news at Southall Station. The council has developed a plan for cycle parking nearby (artist's impressions above and below). The new facility will be about 90 metres south of the station. It's not perfect – the London Cycling Design Standards say parking should be within the footprint of the station – but it will be useful, particularly for those approaching from the south. About half of the parking will require users to push their bikes up or down a wheeling ramp. 

Ealing Broadway Station

The council plans to start removing the temporary stands from Haven Green this week. The stands on the grass were always going to be temporary as permanent structures are not allowed on common land. The removal will be done in stages. The council has installed some replacement stands outside the Metro Bank, and is assessing other sites. 
A count done by Ealing Cycling Campaign on 26 April this year shows that if all the temporary stands were removed, there would only be reserve capacity for 2 cycles.  (Total capacity 130, total usable 122, demand 120).  The Mayor's Cycle Parking Implementation Plan says that, at stations, cycle parking should be provided to exceed demand by at least 30 per cent, to accommodate growth.

Why Cycle Parking at Stations Matters

The average distance cycled to London Underground stations is almost three times greater than the average distance walked. This means that a station’s cycling catchment area is 6.5 times greater than its walking catchment. Failing to provide adequate cycle parking denies large numbers of people the opportunity to use the most efficient way to make their daily commute.