Today, the new £800m St. Pancras International rail terminal welcomed its first Eurostar service. I had a quick look at the nearly finished station on Saturday. It looks great. A simple hi-tech glass structure extends the original trainshed structure accompanied by Gilbert Scott’s glorious gothic front end to the station.
Looking around the new St. Pancras, it seemed that something was missing; that something wasn’t right. I couldn’t place it, but it seems the clever people at Camden Cyclists had identified what was missing: cycle racks. This enormous new rail terminal had been designed with how many cycle racks? Thirty. Just thirty cycle racks for what is supposed to be the main rail terminus of a world class city and Olympic host.
In addition, it has been pointed out that the surrounding road system does little to provide a safe environment for cyclists traveling to, from or around St. Pancras. Added to this the fact that Eurostar’s cycle policy is far from practical and Camden Cyclists had identified several significant reasons why this supposed revolution for British transport is severely lacking when it comes to its provision for cycling as a means of transport.
So, I’m glad to hear that the Camden Cyclists protest today was a great success. Calling attention to these three issues, they managed to provoke a sudden increase in the number of cycle racks, and the promise of a change in Eurostar’s cycle policy. Of course, the matter of improving the safety of the surrounding road infrastructure is a harder thing to change – more’s the pity that it wasn’t properly taken into account during the seven year construction of this immense and otherwise impressive engineering project.