London skyscraper squeeze on cycle parking

Record-breaking building seems short on pedal space

Might some Londoners have to leave their bikes at home? Reports suggest that some London skyscrapers may not be providing enough cycle parking for their users.


The London Bridge Tower, also called The Shard, is under construction and on completion in 2012 will be the tallest building in the UK at 1,017 feet. It could have up to 6,500 occupants. If the increase in the number of people cycling in the city  continues, people using the building may have difficulty finding somewhere convenient to park their bikes.

250 cycle parking places are thought to be planned, one for every 26 people using the building. With only 48 or so car spaces planned, people are being expected to arrive via London Bridge train station, the underground and buses serving the area and to leave the car at home.

London Bridge station currently has around 100 cycle parking spaces, although this may increase with improvements to the station. A new cycle park was opened not too far away last summer – London Bridge Cycle Park is a staffed indoor facility accommodating up to 400 bikes.

Whilst the Shard cycle parking provision may be roughly adequate at the moment, with around 3 percent of journeys in London being made by bike, Mayor Boris Johnson has said he wants to get this beyond 5 percent, making cycle parking an even more vital issue for many people. Since May 2008 there has been a 9 percent increase in cycling on London’s major roads and it is estimated that there are well over half a million cycle journeys made in London every day.

An existing skyscraper icon, The Gherkin, offers 118 bicycle spaces for a potential 4,000 workers, around one to every 33 people.

In impressive contrast to these examples, the new Heron Tower being built in Bishopsgate will reportedly have 526 bike spaces for a similar number of occupants to the Shard. A design for a mainly residential tower at Bondway in Vauxhall includes 360 bike spaces in the basement with an additional 156 elsewhere in the building and another 52 out on the street.


The Canary Wharf estate claims over a thousand free spaces along with 400 payable secure spaces and 800 private spaces within buildings.