Sunday 7 February 2016

Cycle Racks & Fire Safety

As noted last April, the bike racks at the northern side of the spiral ramp to Whitecross St present a hazard in the event of an evacuation of Ben Jonson House, for example in the event of a fire.  The problem is that anyone in a wheelchair or with a pram would not be able to pass freely and so would block the escape route for everyone behind them.

The house group committee has been chasing this with various parts of the City but to no effect.  The BEO say it's not their issue and that they have raised it with the Arts Centre (who paid to have the racks installed), we are told that the Arts Centre thought the BEO would do the work and the City Surveyors department say there is no money.  From our point of view it seems that each of these parts of the City just bounce the matter to the next.

The City Surveyors have pointed out that the racks went through the full planning process before being installed and that anyone could have raise the fire safety issue during that process.  This may be true, and it is unfortunate that nobody, not even the City Surveyors realised there was a fire safety risk with the racks, but now we do know there is a fire safety problem it needs to be fixed.

The fix could take the form of a ramp a meter or so to the west of the racks allowing people on wheels to get down from the pavement to the vehicle exit lane to the service yard or the removal of the racks, but something needs to happen.

To try and break the logjam between the various parts of the City we will contact the Town Clerk.  He is the only common boss for the three City entities involved in this matter.

It may look like there is enough room for prams and wheelchairs in the following photo, but it looks very different when many bikes are locked to the racks.

When bikes use these racks no wheelchair or pram can get past.

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