Ethical Reading (ER) has identified bike theft as one of the main deterrents to people cycling into central Reading and has been working on plans to improve bike parking in the centre of town.
Reading has one of the highest rates of bike theft in the country, with 421 reported bike thefts between October 2019 and September 2020.
ER has identified two types of provision:
- Storage – full day bike storage for the Reading commuter and worker
- Parking – ad hoc bike parking to facilitate shopping and leisure activities
and has looked at a number of possible solutions:
- Attended bike cloakroom
- Unattended structure
- Self-service storage lockers such as in the Oracle
The attended bike hub model has been used in Stockton on Tees, where an empty retail unit has been used to provide secure parking as well as providing a range of other services connected with active travel. They are very proud of the fact that they have parked 34,000 bikes and none have gone missing.
Despite what many people see in the town centre there is strong demand for retail units and so it seems unlikely that anything suitable will become available in the near future.
ER has had two very encouraging meetings with Network Rail (NR) regarding cycle parking and storage at Reading Station.
NR initially highlighted three possible locations and are now actively investigating one location in the underground car park beneath the Brunel Arcade.
Should this option prove to be viable, NR will deliver this project and it may be up and running in the third quarter of 2021.
A possible site for a bike hub was suggested by Reading UK (the economic development and marketing company for Reading). This site is positioned next to St Mary’s Minster between CUP (Coffee Under Pressure) and Bill’s and is owned by RBC.
Currently it is used for storing waste bins with stray litter and car parking and looks very scruffy.
Ethical Reading will contact RBC to see if a bike hub scheme can be included in a future funding round.
To find out about bike hub models visit https://thehubstockton.wordpress.com/cycling/commute/bike-parking/
WBC Campaigner for RCC