The excellent Brixton Buzz news site has a detailed report, based evidently on a press release from Lambeth, stating that the Council has decided to introduce 191 new dedicated parking bays for e-scooters and dockless bikes. The estimated cost is £97,150.
This amounts to an extension of the existing e-scooter trial, and seemingly echoes a similar scheme inaugurated earlier this year by Southwark Council.
The initiative is part of Lambeth’s Kerbside Strategy Implementation Plan approved by the Cabinet earlier this year, which has the goal of repurposing a quarter of the borough’s kerbside space for sustainable uses. [Snarky comment: In their little world, “sustainable” simply means not using fossil fuels, but clearly does not take into account the environmental, economic and indeed human impacts of extracting rare metals for lithium batteries, building heavy bikes in China, and shipping them over here in fossil-fuelled cargo ships.]
The proposed expansion aims to address concerns about e-scooters and dockless bikes cluttering footways: there has been some discussion about this on our street WhatsApp recently.
By introducing dedicated parking bays, Lambeth Council claims it will offer a more organised solution, reducing street clutter and making the environment more pedestrian-friendly.
Currently, 56 parking bays are operational as part of the trial in the borough. The proposed plan seeks to make the Experimental Traffic Management Orders supporting these trial schemes a permanent fixture in the borough.
The long list of proposed sites or such parking bays identifies, for the most part, new bays for e—scooters and dockers bikes, for which an ‘experimental traffic order’ will be made and eventually published.
Nearby sites for dockless bikes
Most of the streets listed – Lambeth is of course a very big borough – will be of little interest to us here, but some streets named are quite close:
Deepdene Road (just off Ferndene Road, near Ruskin Park)
Bicknell Road (quite close to the bottom end of Ruskin Park)
Lowden Road (just behind Fawnbrake Avenue, where Jessop School is based)
Railton Road (two sites)
Brantwood Road (two sites)
Rymer Street (near Herne Hill station)
Hurst Street (near Herne Hill station)
The Brixton Buzz report is worth a careful read. But to some of us, the ambition of corralling all dockless two-wheelers in specific licensed sites has a fundamental weakness. What has made the dockless bikes such a rapid success is the fact that riders can leave them anywhere their journey ends. And for that matter, using the clever app, can often pick up a new bike at random locations. (I have a friend who, after a festive evening in Soho, can easily find a Lime bike within three or four minutes and ride it home to Nunhead. Rather her than me, but she has survived so far. And much cheaper than and almost as fast as an Uber.)
If the rider or the company is to be penalised unless the bike is deposited in some “official” location, I’m not sure how this will work. For example under the Lambeth scheme just announced, the nearest official site would be either in Brantwood Road or one of the streets near Herne Hill station. Are London boroughs trying to make dockless bikes work in the same fashion as Santander bikes?
If I can find a similar statement of policy from Southwark Council, I will amplify this report accordingly. To date, Southwark has marked out two such sites on Half Moon Lane.