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Photo #183783

[Image taken: Unknown] Graham Road junction with Kings Hedges Road, Cambridge. The non-motorised users route along the guided bus way is the path disappearing to the right of this image. Other images today and links: #183780. [NOTE: The image is indicative of Marmalade Lane, Cambridge. The text below are the personal opinions of one resident.]
At Marmalade Lane our secure cycle storage is communal (which makes sense in the cohousing setting but may be more of a struggle in other contexts). There is one hoop per household in secure bike sheds and the homes on the terraces also have a hoop outside their front doors and there are more outside the apartment block. We have quite a number of families with cargo bikes, some electric and some not, bikes with permanent baskets, a few bike trailers for both cargo and children, and a trike in use as well as a shared electric cargo trike [see: #183763].
The cohousing group were involved in the design process with the developer TOWN and Mole Architects (www.molearchitects.co.uk/) back in 2015 and there was discussion about cargo trike storage and charging for bikes at the time. All the bike stores do have electricity for charging but batteries are mostly charged at home, except for the shared cargo trike which for insurance reasons is kept in a bin store. There were a few spaces we could see where cargo bikes could be stored and while the developers needed to put in hoops for planning reasons, we knew we could remove them if necessary and use wall or floor anchors to secure them as they don't need stands to lean on. A few of the cargo bikes are stored in the bike storage and some are outside people's homes. I think ideally they would all be in the secure bike storage if there was more space. They tend to be long and wide which makes it difficult currently. We did recognise at the time our bike storage capacity, especially the secure storage, probably would not be sufficient even though it met and even exceeded the planning requirements. However, the need to accommodate the number of car parking spaces required by planning meant it was hard to see where the extra storage would go.
Like residents in many new developments, we assumed our bikes were secure in the secure bike storage. That proved not to be the case and we have had to take steps to improve the security. (The main problem was that the frame of the bike shed and the bike hoops could be unbolted easily and the door latch could be lifted from the outside despite a code being needed to enter the storage area.) For people designing cycle parking on developments it is worth looking out for those kind of details and ensuring the storage is secure.
Now we are living in the community, we have a better understanding of our needs and have identified how we can expand our bike storage when we need it. To really increase our capacity though we will need to reduce our car ownership further - that is very much work in progress. Our community car club (run really more like a car share financially) now has 3 cars and is supporting lower car ownership but we have a way to go to get to 0.5 spaces per households which is where we would need to be for to enable us to use our undercroft for bikes rather than cars.
Generally the amount of space required by planners for car parking, and their movement, makes increasing the bike storage above policy compliant levels more difficult. Those conversations with planners are a little easier for developers when there are future residents involved in the design process, as is more common with cohousing. It is hard to challenge established conventions and the planning and estate agent assumptions about car ownership. Hopefully, though, if developers and the public point out that bike usage is increasing, and in the context of the climate emergency, building in car ownership at that level makes no sense it will start to have an impact and not all locations need it.
Frances, resident at Cambridge Cohousing.

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