A row of bike racks inside the Utrecht parking garage shot by Sebastian Ter Burg
Just last month, the city of Utrecht in the Netherlands opened the first stage of what is soon to be the world’s largest bike parking facility.
As of now, the garage stands at three stories tall, containing nearly 6000 bike parking spaces, and by late 2018 they plan to double that number officially making it the largest parking structure to ever do it.
The mission of the project was to support the city’s ever growing bike population by increasing bike parking
infrastructure. For years more and more citizens of Utrecht have made the switch to bicycles as a healthy and sustainable alternative to driving, but as the numbers of cyclists increased, the city was presented with a problem: where will everyone park their bikes? The city and many others believe that the Stationsplein Bicycle Parking Garage will be the solution.
With the opening of this parking structure generating so much buzz, it’s got many people talking. Should we work on bringing similar parking infrastructure to the US? The New York Times just released an article announcing that the city of New York now officially has more bike commuters on the streets than drivers. Just like the city of Utrecht, the number of U.S. citizens choosing bikes over cars is rapidly increasing, and while it is doing wonders for public health and the environment, there just isn’t enough available parking to support the influx of bikes.
According to Statista: The Statistics Portal, “The number of U.S. cyclists/bike riders saw a big increase between 2012 and 2017, increasing from around 51 million riders to slightly more than 66 million riders in 2017,” and it’s projected that as the years go on, that number will continue to rise.
Every day, it is becoming more apparent that bicycles are competing with cars, having the potential to become the main source of transportation in the US; especially when it comes to commuting. With new innovations such as e-bikes, and bike-shares popping up left and right, bicycles offer an inexpensive and stress-free alternative to driving. When riding a bike, there is no need to worry about gas, paying for parking, or fighting traffic. As of now, the only worry cyclists face is whether or not they will find a secure bike rack once they arrive at their destination.
When it comes to cities deciding whether or not to increase bike parking, money, of course, is usually the deciding factor. Many argue that investing in bike parking is costly and unnecessary, but in this day and age, that’s just not true. Investing in bike parking can be more cost effective than car parking. Just think about it. In one car parking spot, a city has the potential to fit up to 12 bikes in that same space. That’s potential for 12 more customers to cycle revenue into local businesses and the city.
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If or if not bike garages are the answer, something still needs to be done to satisfy cyclists needs for more parking. They need to know that they have a solid location to store their bike once they reach their destination. Increase in secure bike racks, bike corrals, and bike rooms- equipped with Varsity Bike Racks, Double Dockers, and Vertical Offsets– can all be a perfect solution. The growing number of cyclists is doing wonders for society and it should not be jeopardized by something as simple as a lack of bicycle parking.
Cyclist in Utrecht by Carcelo Campi
Photo By Kaique Rocha