I regularly shop by bike at Sainsburys, I’ve even made it a bit of a sport to record how much shopping I’m capable of carrying back home. Cycling down to the shops is quick, mostly rather enjoyable and cheap.
I was looking forward to the new Sainsburys opening, generally speaking Sainsburys do a good job as far as big supermarket chains go and there’s alot of blowing of trumpets going on as far as their consideration for the environment is concerned. Oh and lets be clear here, they have done a much better job than Tescos – I just don’t use Tescos as they seem to have to interest in providing parking for cyclists, and that’s when you can actually reach it by bike which is a feat in it’s own right. Aldi did a fantastic job, the bike parking is out front, easy to get to and conveniently positioned. Waitrose, like Tesco have a few stands right at the back, as far as physically possible from the entrance to the shop as there is. A great spot for bike thieves and alfresco urinating.
Back to Sainsburys.
They have put in a fantastic load of covered bike parking, but there is a but, quite a few actually.
They built a shared path down to the bike parking but the road was wide enough to have done cycle paths on the road and round into the car park – instead we are put into conflict with both pedestrians and drivers.
If you use the shared path, which I will if there are no pedestrians on it, you get to the bottom only to find a U-turn into the cycle parking which is physically impossible either walking or cycling with a bike trailer, forcing me to use the road.
If you use the road, which I’ll do with the trailer or especially if I see say, someone pushing a pram up the hill, you cycle round on the road into the carpark only to find a big no entry sign, which if we are supposed to follow would mean cycling under the store right round, past the entrance and into the bike parking. The sign should possibly say, “No Entry except cycles” and put in a contraflow bike path as in effect cyclists are turning into the flow of traffic coming the opposite direction.
When you leave the store, the provision only barely works on the way in, on the way back, you are left wondering how on earth to get back into the flow of traffic, there is no clear way and every time I do it differently, I still don’t really know what the intention is.
The provision is very badly designed; it neither works if you use the bits shared with pedestrians nor if you use the road.
Cyclists get so much criticism for not following the rules of the road. As a cyclist, I have to constantly work out what actually applies to me and what doesn’t. Damned if I do or don’t.
Clearly you would double take if you saw a cyclist circumnavigating the car park but I am not happy about cycling through a dirty great no entry sign into the flow of traffic either.
It would have made much more sense to have put the provision at the top of the hill in front of the store in any case, there’s plenty of room up there. We have to choose between two sets of provision, neither fully usable by bike, both causing possible conflict with the other users.
Ely Cycling Campaign are going to contact Sainsburys and see what can be done to improve the existing provision and remove the conflict between users.