Wednesday, July 02, 2008

Introducing BicycleParkingSydney

I've recently created another blog called: BicycleParkingSydney

The idea had been floating in my head for a long time. As a BUG member, I've often done audits at my local train station, but I've never seen any comprehensive study of bike parking facilities across the entire CityRail network. Therefore, rather than spending months auditing stations that I never go to, I've put together an online survey so other cyclists can audit their local train stations. The results so far suggest Sydney's train stations are pretty inept when it comes to bike parking, but there are some that are better that others.

At present, the NSW Ministry of Transport do fund a program of bike lockers at train stations. Interestingly the funding for the program comes from the governments Parking Space Levy.

The Parking Space Levy (PSL) was introduced to discourage car use in major commercial centres, encourage use of public transport and to improve air quality. The PSL funds public transport infrastructure projects which make it easier and more convenient for people to access public transport services.

Every dollar raised is spent on building and maintaining bus, rail and ferry interchanges, commuter car parks, bus shelters, taxi stands, kiss and ride facilities, bicycle lockers, light rail systems and better passenger information and security systems. Recent projects include the Liverpool - Parramatta and North West Transitways, upgrade of the Parramatta Transport Interchange, building of new commuter carparks and the installation of secure bike lockers at railway stations.

The PSL applies to commercial parking spaces in Sydney's CBD, North Sydney/Milsons Point ($930 per space per annum) and at Parramatta, Bondi Junction, St Leonards and Chatswood ($460 per space per annum).
However, the bike lockers are administered by Bicycle NSW and are available at these train stations.

One of the interesting things I noticed when looking around at different policies on bike parking facilities at train stations, is that the Bicycle NSW program seems to be at odds with Bicycle Victoria. On the BV webpage
We have asked the Victorian Government to roll out parking prioritised by demand across the metro and regional rail system as well as tram and bus nodes.

Our proposed model is a card-access cage right near the entrance to the station that is properly lit and covered by CCTV. Access will be by smart card (possibly MiKi in future).

There are a number of lockers on the system. We are not supportive of lockers. A cage takes up less space - or parks more bikes. The cost per bike parked in a locker is high in construction and maintenance. When a locker is not being used by the hirer, it can't be used by anyone else.

I have to agree with BV here. The idea that every person rents their own bike locker seems a bit crazy to me. Could you imagine a public car park operating on such a model? However, in Perth I found another model of bicycle lockers that seemed to be much more user friendly.
The use of lockers is free. Users are required to provide their own lock (D lock or padlock)...
The options for bicycle parking and related infrastructure seem endless, but sadly there seems to be very little vision to improve bicycle parking in Sydney. For an example of what can be done, check out this awesome bike parking facility at a German train station:

However, with automindedness deeply at heart and the pervasive interpellation of the voting public as 'citizen/motorists', it seems that the NSW Government believes that building more car parks at train stations will be the solution to its current transportation headaches (and its prepared to spend big money to do this). Following this logic, commuters can now look forward to getting caught in traffic jams on the way to the train station rather than their places of work.

Is it really too much to ask for a more 'balanced' approach to transport policy?

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