Utrecht, in the Netherlands, has opened the first section of what will be the largest bicycle parking lot in the world. The first part of the three-level Stationsplein Bicycle Parking has a capacity of 6,000 bicycles, which makes it the largest in the country and another 1,500 bicycle parking places will be added in the next few months. By late 2018, the garage will have a full capacity of 12,500 parking spaces, making it the world’s biggest.
“In total 22,000 public high-quality bicycle parking places will be realised around Utrecht Central Station,” Victor Everhardt, Vice Mayor, City of Utrecht, told Cities Today. “Almost all the bikes that used to be parked in public space around the station, can now be put in the new bicycle parking. So, besides more indoor space for parking, the impact on liveability around the Central Station is also significant.”
The municipality of Utrecht, ProRail and NS (Dutch Rail) will manage the Stationsplein Bicycle Parking collectively. The three parties will jointly ensure the railway station is easily accessible, and provide attractive, safe and efficient bicycle parking all across Utrecht.
In the new Utrecht Central Station area, near the public-transport terminal, the new 22,000 parking places will be divided over five large bicycle parking sites. Cyclists in the past have parked their bicycles at various locations close to the station entrances, but this will no longer be the case.
“Cycling runs through our veins in the Netherlands,” added Everhardt. “Almost everyone in our country starts cycling to school from a very young age. In Dutch cities like Utrecht cycling is the mode of transport, above all others. Cycling is easy, affordable for most people, healthy and we have high focus on good infrastructure for cyclists. Streets in our city are narrow, which is not attractive to cars, and we want our inhabitants to use the most environmentally friendly modes of transport.”
The garage features service points for bicycle repair, maintenance, parts and accessories, with wardens monitoring correct parking and ensuring that bicycles are removed if left for over 28 days. Bike lanes connect the garage with train platforms and surrounding streets, and commuters can also rent bicycles from the facility.
Parking is free during the first 24 hours, users can check in and out with their public-transport chip card and a digital system guides cyclists to free parking places.
“A lot of people already use bikes to get to the Central Station, but with this new facility, we expect these numbers to increase further,” said Everhardt.