Amsterdam has so many bikes that it literally doesn’t fit. Solution: park 7,000 underwater


The country of bicycles no longer knows what to do with them. The Netherlands has a real problem with number of bikes that it has in its streets. In 2019 it was estimated that 17 million people lived in the Netherlands and that there were a total of 23 million bikes in its streets. Amsterdam, for all the movement it concentrates, is one of the most affected cities.

Until now, leaving the central station as a tourist meant, almost immediately, taking out your mobile phone and taking a picture of what was before you: thousands and thousands of bicycles in a huge public parking lot. Now, the city council wants to put order and “recover this space for pedestrians, tourists and people with reduced mobility”, in the words of Pieter Visserresponsible for the city’s bicycle parking lots.

And, as often happens in Amsterdam, the city has had to turn to its channels to find a solution. This January 26 will open the largest public bicycle parking in Amsterdam. Where? Underwater. Yes, we are right: underwater.

7,000 bicycles underwater

The project has required four years and an investment of 60 million euros, as stated in Guardian, and its opening date is January 26. The objective is, as in many other cities in the country, for citizens to use the parking lot to leave their bicycles there before taking the train and retrieve them when you return home.

This way of acting is common in the country, where many citizens live in one town but study or work in another. Here, intermodal mobility was invented a long time ago and for this reason many have two bicycles (one per city). They cycle to the central station, take the train to their destination and, once there, pick up their second bike from the parking lot to commute to work or university.

In the parking lot you can leave your bike completely free for up to 24 hours. After this time, the cyclist will have to pay 1.35 euros for a bonus that, again, will be active for another 24 hours.

Marco te Brömmelstroet, director of the Institute for Urban Cycling at the University of Amsterdam, points out in The Guardian the importance of the project as it “makes visible the success factor in Dutch mobility and space policy: the bicycle-train combination”. Essential in a city where its 835,000 inhabitants make an average of 665,000 daily trips by bicycle, representing 36% of the total trips in the city, for 24% of the trips made by car.

One of many corridors full of bicycles in the parking lot of the Rotterdam Central Station

A curious tourist attraction

As I have already written on occasion, I am attracted to cycling through the center of a city and it seems to me a viable alternative to public transport and the car even in cities as aggressive towards cyclists as Madrid.

It is not surprising that the two occasions in which I have traveled to the Netherlands fascinated by the use of the bicycle. The first occasion was a quick visit to Amsterdam between trains on the Interrail, where I verified how little we are used to moving around by bicycle when the city turns into an authentic jungle of pedals and two-wheeled vehicles.

But he didn’t come to talk about that. I wanted to comment on the attraction that bicycle parking lots caused me. Watch thousands and thousands of bicycles together, stacked in huge spaces designed by and for the cyclist. The image above is of a bicycle parking lot in Rotterdam. When I visited the city, then it had one of the largest bike racks in the country.

Since then, the experience has become a must-see (and one that I recommend) in every city. Because it’s impressive to see how a small city like Delft has parking for almost 8,000 bikes. But it is in Utrecht, a city absolutely dominated by this means of transport, where, collapsed by its enormous number of cyclists, it has had to expand space and open a car park with 12,500 spaces.

Photo | rebecable

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Written by Editor TLN

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