Proposed Cycle Parking at Arsenal Tube

Cycling parking proposed on new build outs at left and right hand side behind the cars. Pavement build out will be immediately in front of the station.

Please say yes  to Islington Council’s Arsenal Tube/Gillespie Road survey which ends on August 12th. The plans will:

  • add a total of 10 cycle parking spaces on two new build outs either side of Highbury Hill marked in green on the satellite photo below and behind the red and black cars in the photo.
  • build out the pavement in front of the station by 2m.

Although the proposal is for 10 cycle parking spaces, 5 sheffield stands on either side of the road, some residents feel that this is too much because it ‘could be a hazard to traffic and pedestrians’. They suggest the locations marked in red in the satellite photo.

View Proposed Cycle Parking at Arsenal Tube in a larger map

The existing covered bike racks to the left of the station entrance at the station are always full. Commuters that cycle to Arsenal Tube station are locking up to trees and anything static in the area.  It looks as if the demand for cycle parking is far greater than supply.  We think that the proposed 10 new cycle stands will be full every day in a matter of weeks.

Councillors are likely to be swayed by the views of residents that live in the Highbury West ward.  However it would be difficult for the council if they turned down cycle parking if the majority of respondents to the survey supported it.

Regular Gillespie Rd cyclists will know that this narrow road is jammed packed with residents parking (see lower photograph).  The real estate for cycle stands cannot be extended without reducing residents parking which local councillors are unwilling to do as this is a strongly contested ward.  The only reason that this particular piece of real estate is available at all is because its on a T junction and cannot be used for residents parking.

There is also a proposal to build out the pavement in front of the station.  We support this as does Islington Living Streets as it helps create a sense of place and helps pedestrians cross the road. Sadly cycle parking cannot be put here because Arsenal fans swarm through this space on match days.

Cars passing each other outside Arsenal Tube Station. Tube Station entrance is on the left.

Some residents are concerned that this build out might cause additional traffic congestion. The existing congestion is caused by cars queueing to enter the the very narrow section of Gillespie Rd which has residents parking on either side of it and through which two vehicles cannot pass. However even with the build out in place, because there is no parking directly opposite, there is still 6m of road width available. The Drayton Park width restriction is 2.15m so two vehicles can still easily pass each other in front of the station.

The proposals are funded by Sustrans’s Connect2 project for Drayton Park and Gillespie Road.

Please respond to the Gillespie Road survey with a yes. There is only one question.

Update 8th Aug 2012

ICAG has received three emails objecting to the proposals and make these points:

  • Vehicles (especially large ones) turning into and out of Highbury Hill might not have enough space to turn and negotiate on-coming traffic and will probably end up clipping or mounting the curb if the pavement is built out.
  • During match days the crowds congregate around the area outside the Station , on Gillespie Road and on both sides at the very end of Highbury Hill. I am sure the racks with or without cycles tied on them will created Health & Safety issues for the people who mill around.
  • The existence of the cycle park will be another obstacle for blind people, disabled, old and women carrying prams with one hand and holding another child with the other hand.
  • During cold and rainy winter days and weekends when the racks will be empty the area will look very unsightly.
  • While a few new racks may be welcomed as a nice-to-have by people who already walk to the tube, or encourage cycling to the station on warm days (though how many will choose to travel on the tube when soaking wet?), it seems to us most unlikely that a significant number of motorists will abandon their cars in favour of a bike because of the addition of a few bike racks, and certainly not enough to make this proposed scheme worthwhile.
  • I would use my bike for regular trips I make to the Sobell, but have no confidence it’ll still be there when I come out (once when I tried, someone was shamelessly cutting through my padlock, in full view of passers-by).  I’ll leave it to your imagination to interpret possible implications for new racks in Highbury Hill.
  • Many apparently ‘parked’ bikes on trees are not left by tube users but abandoned, often being dismembered for parts over time before being liberated by residents and Council Refuse Teams.   Or they belong to people working/visiting houses in the vicinity.

Update 14th October 2012

Tomorrow, Islington Council will re-consult residents in the immediate area around Arsenal Tube Station. The council has received over 100 responses so far and the majority are in favour of the scheme. If you responded, thank you!

However, in the immediate area around the tube station, the consultation document was posted through each door and the responses received were split between for and against. Also the response rate was very low. (Not everyone has time to respond to a small plan to create a single build out and cycle parking for ten bikes.) Some residents said that they didn’t receive the consultation documents. For these reasons the council is doing a second consultation. It now comes in two parts Arsenal Tube Station and Highbury Hill.

ICAG could, of course, go and knock on the 100 or so doors in the immediate area and ask people to respond. Half of the houses have probably got a bike in them and so we’d probably be able to swing the response strongly in our favour. But we have to draw the line somewhere. If local councillors want to block this scheme, they will.

This is very frustrating and one has to wonder how many years it will be before Sustrans brings another £600,000 into Islington.



  1. The build outs are a very good idea anyway. They would shorten ped crossing points also benefiting those local people who are concerned. The only people who don’t benefit are the ones who want to drive round those corners at 40mph. I lack sympathy for them.
    In fact there should be build outs on the tube station side as well. For example where (in your picture) that MPV is parked unnecessarily. Clearly there is space to make the forcourt bigger.

  2. Just talked to Josephine? who cycles from Stoke Newington to her nearest tube, Arsenal. She’s moved her working day forward by one hour partly because it’s the only way she can get space in the bike rack. She arrives at 7.20AM.  

    One other arriving cyclist locking onto a nearby lamp post reported that she had been unable to get her bike out of the bike rack for two days because it was jammed between other bikes. 

  3. I frequently cycle to and from arsenal tube for work journeys. It is very hard to find space so I have to lock to railings or lamposts which is unfortunately obstructive to the pavement. I cycle all year round- look at cycle racks elsewhere the winter has a minimal impact. I would welcome the chance to lock onto a rack at arsenal. Simon

  4. I support provision of more cycle parking near Arsenal tube and in the whole area.  I am one of the people who cycles to Gillespie Road to visit a friend rather than use the tube, and would appreciate more specific cycle parking provision rather than cramming onto a railing/tree/lamppost.  Where I live, the Listria Park and Martaban Road Community Association chose to raise and spend money on a couple of Plantlocks, to provide cycle parking facilities that benefit both cyclists and other residents/visitors as parked bikes are supported to stay upright (addressing residents’ concerns about them sliding sideways down a single pole to obstruct the pavement or damage cars) and our streets got lovely extra planting.  There is an active community association in the Gillespie Road area who I think would be likely to take on such a project, particularly if any funding available.

  5. How about a double-decker in the existing bike space?

    1. Alastair, I think that’s a really good idea.  They are used at all the main stations now.  Josephine from Stoke Newington pointed out that the bike rack might be visible to the residents in the house next door but worth looking at.

      On the right hand side of the station, there is a ‘bin room’ that sticks out onto the pavement.  I have never seen a tube station with an external bin room before. I asked a member of TfL staff on duty whether that could be ripped down and used for bike storage and she said it was a great idea.

      The council is reluctant to pursue this; it will probably take months if not years to get any movement from TfL but we (ICAG) will pursue this and we also might get further.

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