Hanging on for a bike hangar parking spot

New data reveals demand for bike hangar parking spaces far outweighs current capacity

A much sought after bike hangar
Credit: Stephen Furner

By Luchia Robinson

The waiting list for bike hangar spaces in Haringey tops 6,000, according to recent data. An FOI request has revealed that the demand for the on-street hangar parking spaces in Haringey (6,163), more than quadruples the current total capacity, which stands at 840.

The Lib Dems have criticised the council for “not doing enough to promote cycling in the borough” or source adequate funding to meet the growing demand.

Lib Dem councillor Liz Morris, opposition spokesperson for transport and neighbourhoods, said: “The council’s plans to increase the number of bike hangars by just 50 per year means it will take until 2039 just to get through the current waiting list.

“Haringey residents know that we need action to tackle the climate emergency, but all we get is warm words from the Labour-run council, who are failing time and again to take the issue seriously.”

3% of journeys in Haringey are by cycle and 36% by walking. The council’s Walking and Cycling Action Plan (WCAP) aims to deliver the Mayor of London’s 2018 Transport Strategy by increasing the uptake of active travel in local communities, improving health, decreasing trips made by car, and sustaining the local environment.

The plan factors social distancing, strategic cycle routes, and Low Traffic Neighbourhoods (LTNs) into its approach, however, results from the 2021 Healthy Streets Scorecard places Haringey 13th (having dropped from 10th in 2019) out of 33 boroughs.

According to the scorecard, Haringey is lagging behind its neighbouring boroughs: Hackney has 55% LTNs opposed to Haringey’s three initial proposed LTNs (in Bruce Grove, St Ann’s/Green Lanes and Bounds Green); Islington is ranked second place on the scorecard; and Waltham Forest has 12% protected cycle tracks, in contrast to Haringey’s 3%.

Limited residential hangar parking space is one of the major obstacles facing cyclists in Haringey.

Penny Baker, an NHS administrator who lives in Seven Sisters, signed up for a bike hangar in Vartry Road N15, nine months ago. She said: “I tried getting a bike hangar space, but I’ve had no luck – even when a new one opened up just outside. I’m still on the waiting list; I just carry my bike upstairs into the house instead now.”

Amber Cooper-Davies, an illustrator and new cyclist from Hornsey, also finds parking an issue. She said: “I am lucky enough to have a small space in my hallway where I can keep my bike, however, I have lots of housemates who also regularly ride bikes, and we have pretty much reached maximum capacity with three bikes so far.

“Living in a rented flat, we are not allowed to put hooks in the walls or add any kind of structure outside, so we don’t have many options to store any more. Another of my housemates would like to start riding, so we have been looking into getting spaces in one of the public bike hangars, however, there are none near us and we are aware of the extremely long waiting list, so don’t hold a lot of hope for that.”

There are 1,500 accessible on street cycle parking spaces located in town
centres, and outside tube and rail stations across the borough. However, local residents and campaigners have raised concerns about safety in some of these areas, as well as the need to improve Haringey’s overall parking infrastructure.

Bike stands
Credit: Stephen Furner

A spokesperson from Haringey Cycling Campaign said: “There’s clearly a major shortage of options for people when it comes to residential cycle parking, equally there’s a huge shortage of places for people to park on high streets as well.

“Residential parking is particularly an issue in areas where people live in flats or high-density housing. It’s clearly a huge barrier for people taking up cycling in terms of not having anywhere to park a bike.

“We need to look at the efficiency of how we use the space around the borough – there’s very little space for cycle parking and lots of space for very cheap subsidised car parking. The issue is not just about how Haringey can provide parking, but what other options can people have.

“As well as more cycle hangars, there needs to be more ‘free at the point of use’ parking on the high street and in residential areas, as this would provide more options for people to secure a bike.

“There isn’t any way to park adapted cycles or cargo bikes at the moment, because they don’t fit in cycle hangars and you can’t use kerb side spaces – unless you’re someone with a big front garden or rear access or a garage.

“There’s all categories of cycles that are really important to transition away from cars for more sustainable forms of transport, for those people who don’t want to, or can’t drive. These sorts of options can really help to enhance your quality of life. Any sort of plans that Haringey has for increasing residential cycle parking, need to include adapted/ cargo bikes in them.”

Haringey’s draft WCAP includes aims to ensure hangar cycle parking (or similar) within a three-five minute walk by 2030 to meet demand. A public consultation on the plan will be launched this summer.

It is expected that in addition to funding already sourced from TfL, that an extra £80,000 will be required for residential cycle hangars, and an additional £40,000 will need to be sought for Homes for Haringey cycle hangars or sheds.

Mike Hakata, deputy leader of Haringey Council and cabinet member for environment, transport and the climate emergency, said: “As part of our plan, we are continuing to deliver secure residential cycle parking by installing bike hangars across the borough, with 46 installed in 2020/21, up from 29 in 2019/20.

“Available funding is a constraint on delivery, and Covid-19 has had a further impact on the funding we receive from Transport for London to install the hangars. However, in December 2020, the council agreed a significant proportion of Strategic Community Infrastructure levy funding to be spent on active travel projects.

“A proportion of the £5.1m, to be spent over the next three years, will be used to support our bike hangar programme. In addition to this, the council is actively exploring additional funding and different ways that we increase the number of hangars by looking into other local authorities’ delivery models.

“We will also be expanding the number of bike hangars delivered in our three proposed Low Traffic Neighbourhoods, subject to a forthcoming consultation, and looking into how we can increase secure cycle storage on our estates.”