Bromley: How to get a bike hangar on your streetby Alexander on January 16th, 2015
I live in crystal Palace and this map shows where it is quicker for me to get to on my bike than by public transport. Clearly being able to use a bike to get about is a massive advantage.
I had no idea that these Lambeth Bike hangars existed until one day I was moving something large for my company Wine Rides with a cargo-bike.
I had left the cargo bike locked to a sign post, while I went in to get something, one of my neighbors, must have been in a terrible rush, or suffer from crippling agoraphobia because rather than speak to me they left a note stuck to the bike politely asking me to not lock it to the sign post outside their house.
At that point I had a sudden realization: Why is it that there is so much parking for cars as a matter of course in residential neighborhoods, and why isn’t there a single parking bay for bikes on this street? There must be other people like me who live here and cycle. And from time to time, they must entertain guests that arrive by bike as I do.
I live in a flat, on the fourth floor of my building. My neighbors in the flats bellow have been putting up with me carrying bikes up our narrow stair case for way too long scuffing the walls as I went. So the lack of bike parking, didn’t just affect me and my wife it was having a knock on impact on the people we live with.
This led me to discover the Lambeth Bike Hangar. They deal with all the issues above: They are secure overnight bike parking. They take up half a car parking bay and provide space for 6 bikes.
If it is sited on the carriageway then you need to get council approval. Once installed a house hold can have two bike parking spaces within the Hangar. In our case Bromley Counsel used a transport budget, and paid the capital cost of the Hangar (aprox: 3K). We’ve paid £30 to rent our bike parking bay for the year and an additional a £25 refundable key deposit.
If you want a Hangar on the carriageway as I did then you have to accept that this becomes a “political” endeavor because of the loss of car parking. You are going to need to build support for it on your street.
I wrote a letter to my neighbors and stuffed it through all the doors on my road. As a result I got one email from someone who didn’t want it. And about 8 from people who were supportive. In this letter I think it is important to introduce yourself and set out what will be lost: Half a parking space. If you don’t do that, people won’t trust your intentions.
You can then explain why it will be a valuable addition to the road. It is also important to state that it isn’t just the cyclists who benefit: the people they share properties with will also be better off.
When there are email responses: encourage people to put their details on this map http://www.cyclehoop.com/rentals/.
Once there is a head of support: find out who your counselor is: Write to them and ask for a meeting. The pitch to the counselor is that it is something they can point at and say they have done. It is a tangible improvement they can make. There aren’t many things left that politicians can do to make a “visible” difference. My counselor was great and it was nice to get to know them.
They will navigate the internal structures of the counsel for you. When the counselor is on board, they will help you find the people in the council who will benefit from getting one of these installed. They do exist, the councils have budgets for sustainable transport, and a bike hangar is a good use of that budget.
This is where the greatest variation in time occurs: all you can really do is keep emailing your counsellor and encourage them to keep badgering other people on the council to push it through. It’s basically dictated by when various people get together for regular meetings. So long as you put the ground work in and there’s evidence of support on your street. They will get on with it quite quickly.
I had to send three emails to my councilor, so it wasn’t much work.
There will be a consultation. The council will write to everybody on your road and asked them to respond. Being organized at this point and re-contacting the people who responded to your letter will be a huge help here. It gives your allies in the counsel the evidence they need to get it past the resistance.
By that point you want it to be a no-brainer for the councilors to give it the okay.
Key things to remember:
• This is not the first one, there are loads in Lambeth. This is nothing new.
• Where they exist they are VERY popular.
• They are no uglier than any other piece of street furniture. There is no problem installing them in conservation areas.
• The will ask why you can’t have it on your property: You need an answer for that.
Finally: If you do want one of these then Fairness is fundamental. Without whingeing and always being seen to be reasonable: you have to frame it in terms of what’s fair: 6 people get bike parking for half a car parking space. It’s an accident of history that cars can park all over the place, and that is “normal”. Cars spend 90% of their existence parked, we only want bike hangars because our bikes are in constant use.
Once you have one there is no looking back: I love ours. We have even repainted all the walls in our hallway. No longer do I need to lug a wet bike up the stairs on my shoulder. I am getting to meet the other cyclists on my street! Now I don’t know what I would do without it.