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A New London High-Rise Will Have More Bike Parking Than Apartments

The future of bike-friendly housing is very, very bike friendly.

As a network of bike superhighways and lanes quickly spreads across London, the number of cyclists on city streets has nearly tripled since the millennium. That brings a new problem–where to put all of the bikes.

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A new high-rise apartment complex, called 250 City Road, shows what the future of bike-friendly housing will look like in the city. For every bedroom in the towers, there’s a parking spot for a bicycle. In total, it adds up to 1,486 parking spaces–more than the 930 apartments, and far more than the 200 spots included for cars.


“It is part of a wider strategy for 250 City Road, which embraces the issue of sustainability holistically, addressing everything from the orientation of the buildings to water use,” says Giles Robinson, partner at Foster + Partners, the architects for the new building.

The architects turned a 1980s office complex into modern housing with shops, cafes, and new pedestrian paths on the ground level. A combined heat and power plant helps run the towers, along with solar panels. The green roof also harvests rainwater.

The enormous bike parking lot, though, might be the towers’ most unusual feature. The buildings also have dedicated bike elevators, and a bike repair shop in the basement.

“Both are really useful for cyclists,” Robinson says. “We design every aspect of a building with an understanding of the needs of the people that will use it every day–in providing such a high proportion of cycle spaces and actively encouraging cycling, we felt that there was a need to put in place the infrastructure to support these measures.”

It’s something that will start showing up in others new London buildings, thanks to guidance from the city’s transportation department that now requires bike parking for housing and commercial developments. The new high-rise exceeds those requirements by 200 spaces, because local planners thought even more was necessary.

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The architects believe the parking spaces will help encourage more people to ride. “As a cyclist myself, I know how important provision for secure cycle parking is, so I do think these design choices can make a real difference,” Robinson says.

About the author

Adele Peters is a staff writer at Fast Company who focuses on solutions to some of the world's largest problems, from climate change to homelessness. Previously, she worked with GOOD, BioLite, and the Sustainable Products and Solutions program at UC Berkeley.

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