Sunday, 9 August 2009

Plymouth Pavilions - Part 2

An update: Having discussed this matter with a very pleasant and helpful gentleman at Plymouth City Council's transport department, I was assured that the bike lockers at Pavilions has nothing to do with them. However, he took down my number and promised to look into it for me.
This sounded very much like a "don't call us, we'll call you" fob off, so I was pleasantly surprised when he phoned me back later the same day. Unfortunately he wasn't able to find out anything, other than that the lockers were certainly installed with the co-operation of Pavilions. He also undertook to contact Pavilions to advise them of this.
Sadly I didn't take down his name, because somebody like this deserves praise.

Anyway, next time I was at Pavilions I noticed the sign (should've noticed it before and I have no idea why I missed it) on the wall above and behind the lockers.

The sign lists a phone number for a local company, as well as their web address: www.bikeaway.com
This was looking hopeful! I looked at the site with interest and saw that the prices for renting a locker is actually very reasonable, so I phoned them with the intention of renting two lockers.

Except I couldn't speak to them as the voice-mail message informed me that they were away on a two week shutdown!
This means crucially placed secure bike lockers that were part-funded by Plymouth City Council, and installed on land owned by Plymouth City Council are not available for use because a private company decided to take a summer holiday! GRRRRRRRRRRRR!!!!!!

Seriously Plymouth CC, wake up and start DOING something about things like this!

Look at it this way:
  • I live, work and cycle in a city where there is poor cycling facilities
  • What facilities there are seems poorly thought out
  • There is no overall cycling plan
  • Encouraging cycling reduces gridlock, pollution, obesity, etc.
  • PCC does not communicate with any cycling groups

I'm not asking for the world here and I'll be the first to accept that PCC does provide some cycling facilities. My gripe is that what is provided clearly had no input from cyclists, and many new road changes completely ignore accepted good practice for cycling facilities. Additionally, cycle parking is poor throughout the city.

PCC performed a visionary step when they pedestrianised the city centre decades ago, yet to this day cyclists aren't allowed to cycle there! The overall impression I have is that the council is not one single entity, but rather separate departments that don't communicate. This results in disjointed and often poorly designed road changes

Come on, PCC - start asking cyclists what they think. And don't simply approach the road-warrior elite, but ask everyday cyclists of all ages and abilities.

Together we can make things better.