Swan Lane Car Park Closure in City of London

Have you noticed that Swan Lane car Park will be permanently closed with effect from 7pm on the 31st August 2006?

The City of London have no plans to replace their largest car park, or offer extra parking facilities for Motorbikes.

This means that other local facilities will be over crowded and the chances of getting a parking space anywhere within the city of London will be minimal.

If this affects you then like me you are no doubt outraged by this turn of events and the lack of consideration shown for motorcyclists by the City of London.

The number of spaces for bikes has been systematically reduced (eg the motorbike spaces which have been eliminated recently in at least two places near to Monument). I have tried parking my bike in various locations around the City but it is only in the Swan Street car park that the bike is safe and secure, and where it can be parked with relative ease. I know from experience that all the on-street parking in the vicinity of where I work (Gracechurch Street) is full by 8.00 am.

If this affects you take 5 minutes of your time to e-mail you displeasure to the following e-mail address.

[email protected]

If they can’t keep Swan Lane open then they should provide new and extra bays in the city. If you know of any others that use Swan Lane or surrounding areas (as these will become overcrowded), then please pass on the e-mail address above and get them to register their displeasure. We can’t all fit on the bus.

As a former & recent Swan Lane car park user, I’ll definitely contact the Corporation about that, as they are now shutting down the ‘unofficial’ bike bays all over the Corporation’s area. And everytime any road building machinery, etc, needs to be parked for the day time, it’s the bike bays that get suspended, never the fee generating car bays.

That’s the Barnard’s Castle one, and it’s a fair walk from there to Monument/London Bridge, though.

Had to ride into the City today and spent almost 45min trying to find a bay, and couldn’t. So many of them have been removed, or are buried behind scaffolding. In the end, had to throw the bike in the London Wall carpark (westbound entrance closed, btw), which was full too, so had to block a few bikes to make it to my meeting.

I use that car park every day and so was a bit pissed off to find out it was going to close.

Wrote to them about it and asked what they’re going to do about replacing the lost parking …in a nutshell bugger all.

Here’s the full reply:

I write in response to your e-mail of 1630 hours on 29 March 2006in relation to motorcycle parking in the City of London, particularly in relation to the scheduled closure of Swan Lane car park.

The City considers that parking for commuters who travel to the City by motorcycle should be provided within the building or site where those commuters work so that commuters are not attracted to use the on-street solo motorcycle parking bays, which are intended for visitors’ use. In the past City building developers have too often made insufficient provision for the likely number of workers at the development who will travel to their workplace by motorcycle. To respond to this underprovision within developments, the City adopted a new motorcycle parking standard in the City of London Unitary Development Plan 2002 (which was adopted as the City’s principal land use planning document on 9 April 2002). This new standard requires that a minimum of one motorcycle parking space be provided for every 750m2 of gross floor space in all new and redeveloped office, retail and leisure buildings in the City where car parking is to be provided. This is three times the amount of motorcycle parking that was previously required under the City of London Unitary Development Plan 1994. Buildings constructed to this standard are likely to have sufficient motorcycle parking available within the development for all employees who wish to travel to work by motorcycle in all normal situations, meaning that these developments will not produce any demand on public motorcycle parking provision, making it easier for visitors and those persons who do not have motorcycle parking provided at their workplace to find space in the public facilities. Obviously it will take some time for a sufficient number of buildings to be built or redeveloped to this new standard for pressure on public motorcycle parking to be noticeably reduced, but the City anticipates that, over the whole of the next decade, rebuilding rates in the City will be roughly equivalent to those experienced over the last decade, when a remarkable 37% of City office space was rebuilt. In this situation of very high rebuilding rates the City anticipates that the reduction in pressure on public motorcycle parking resulting from significantly better private provision of motorcycle parking will be noticeable within a few years.

Nevertheless, the City recognizes that, while this new requirement for the provision of significantly greater amounts of private motorcycle parking is likely to substantially reduce motorcycle parking pressures in the longer term, more immediate improvements are required to assist today’s motorcyclists; and that some workplaces will never have motorcycle parking provided within them for a variety of reasons, such as when the building concerned is of historic value and cannot be modified to provide off-street parking. Visitors to the City and commuters who do not, or do not currently, have motorcycle parking provided at their workplace can therefore park in 1 of the City’s 17 public car parks or 1 of the many more in the City Fringe.

The City operates six public car parks in addition to Swan Lane. Since the Mayor of London introduced his congestion charging scheme in February 2003 the City has increased the public motorcycle parking provision in Baynard House car park from 50 spaces to 375 spaces; in Minories car park from 40 spaces to 445 spaces; and in White’s Row car park from 80 spaces to 405 spaces. In addition the Markets Committee of the Court of Common Council will be asked to consider making motorcycle parking available in West Smithfield car park. These off-street public car parks have some significant advantages over the on-street solo motorcycle parking bays, notably protection from the elements, good lighting, security patrols and on-site assistance staff and, in most of the car parks, closed-circuit television surveillance. A map showing the locations of the City’s public car parks is available on the City’s website at http://www.cityoflondon.gov.uk/Corporation/maps/locations_of_interest.htm. You will need to use the enlargement, navigation and map key buttons at the base of the map to view it.

In addition to the City’s 7 public car parks, National Car Parks Ltd (NCP) now welcome motorcycles in all 60 of the public car parks that they operate within the congestion charging zone, including 10 in the City and many more in the City Fringe. NCP charge a flat fee of £3 per day for motorcycle parking in most of their car parks; however there is now a special rate of £2 per day for the new secure motorcycle parking facility at their London Aldersgate Street car park (on Aldersgate Street, just north of the Museum of London rotunda). If this secure motorcycle parking facility proves popular with users NCP are likely to roll the security devices and the reduced parking charge out to their other car parks in the City. There is a “car park finder” tool on the NCP website at http://www.ncp.co.uk/multimapform.aspx.

I trust that this information is of assistance and that you are reassured that the City knows about the difficulties with parking that many City motorcyclists, both visitors and commuters, face and is addressing those problems to the extent that the achievement of the City’s other goals allow. Please also find attached a copy of the first issue of the City’s Motorcycle Parking newsletter, which I hope will be of interest.

I’d like to know how many ‘visitors’ to the City use motorbikes, as these visitors are likely to be business people carrying briefcases, etc. Taxis tend to be their vehicle of choice. The whole Swan Lane building will be torn down, by the way, to build more unused office space and fancy shops, etc. With, IIRC, 7 bike parking places. They just don’t seem to appreciate that one of the attractions of having a bike is that it should be easy to park within a close proximity to the office and home, not 20-30 minute walk away.

I am one of the visitors to the city that does so on my bike and, yes, I am a briefcase carrying suit. The city is a nightmare for the late meeting commuter, I have now taken to parking on the less popular embankment solo bays and walking the rest of the way.

Having said that I wasn’t aware of the other parking bays that are refferred to but even at that they total just over a thousand spaces and the City of London need to appreciate just how many of us actually do ride into town, maybe we need an organised protest some day just to let them really understand