I cycled home this evening using the Cycle Hire scheme and discovered, to my dismay that Kennington Post Office, Kennington Cross, Kennington Tesco, Vauxhall Station and Sancroft Street docking stations were all full. It appears that Kennington is quite the fashionable place to visit... or that we're as far south as people can get before resorting to buses and tubes. The Evening Standard has a photo of the Serco personnel supplying extra bikes (or docks) at Waterloo Station here. In my view, TFL have massively underestimated the demand and popularity of the Cycle Hire Scheme, particularly amongst commuters.
London-SE1 spotted a rather interesting clipping that suggests we might be due to gain some additional docking stations in SE11 soon. The proposed sites would be Vauxhall Street and Oval Way. Vauxhall Street is quite long and so the site could be anywhere between Black Prince Road and the Oval Cricket Ground. Oval Way is a tiny street and extra docks their should relieve the crowding at Tescos and provide a cycle hire option for the young people at Lilian Baylis School. Objections from residents/businesses etc.have to be made by the 6th September. Let's hope that nobody objects!
Also, if you're interested, here is a list of sites refused permission for docking stations. Six sites in Lambeth were refused, three in SE11 and three in SE1. One of the SE11 potential docks was Windmill Row, which many of us objected to on the basis that it is a very congested thoroughfare, doesn't have wide pavements and removes car parking that elderly/disabled people use to access the shops. The other SE11 spots that didn't get permission were: 190-194 Kennington Lane (this is on the opposite side of the road to Imperial Court) and Sancroft Street where it crosses Newburn Street (2 stations have been built in Sancroft Street so this one wasn't a great loss). In SE1, Webber Street and the Cut outside the Young Vic both had permission refused. Near the border, permission was refused for a dock in SE1 near Lambeth Bridge. The Lambeth Bridge dock is the one that I consider most important. There's a lack of bikes anywhere near Westminster and this one would have bridged the gap somewhat. I'm hoping that another application might be made.
Edit: Under the guise of "why there aren't more bikes near Waterloo", Ross Lydall has published research by Ashley Lumsden (Lib Dem in Streatham Hill) on the reasons for Lambeth's refusal of the above docks. Quite frankly, I fail to see how Windmill Row, Sancroft St and Lambeth Bridge quite count as Waterloo. Lambeth's refusal of six docks (many at the request of residents) hardly compares with Westminster's refusal of 29 and K&C's refusal of 12. The real reason that there aren't more docks at Waterloo is because TFL chose to prioritise the Cycle Hire Scheme roll out for non-commuters. Additional docks at stations will happen (we are lead to believe) during phase 2 of the installation. Lumsdens' complaints look a little like political point scoring.
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