What Happens When Amsterdam Maxes Out Its Bicycle Parking Spots? It Builds 40,000 More
How one of the world’s best bike cities plans to keep pace with the growing demand for more cycle space.
Image via (cc) Flickr user taniazza
Amsterdam is known for many things. Legalized drugs and prostitution? Sure. A rich cultural history full of art and philosophy? Absolutely. But, perhaps above all else, Amsterdam is known as a city—maybe even *the* city—where bicycles reign supreme.
In a city where it’s estimated there are more bikes (881,000) than people (811,000), and where cycling is believed to account for 40 percent of all traffic, infrastructure challenges are bound to arise. It’s no surprise, then, that Amsterdam has, for years, been struggling with the problem of bicycle overcrowding. There are, in many ways, more bikes in the city than the city has space for—particularly when it comes to finding a place to park. So what does a city like Amsterdam do in the face of a potential bike-pocalypse? It doubles down.
In an affirmation of its commitment to being as bicycle-friendly as possible, Amsterdam this year unveiled plans to build 40,000 new bike parking spaces in the hope of providing much-needed relief for congested downtown cycle lots, which regularly overfill as commuters bike into the city’s center for work.
Image via (cc) Flickr user anjali-photography
The first step in the city’s plans is construct a 7,000-unit parking garage underneath the IJ—a body of water that stands adjacent to Amsterdam’s central transit hub—which could be connected to the station via tunnel. Then, explains CityLab, an additional 21,500 spots would be created around the metro station itself. Couple that with plans for several parking islands floating in the city’s canals, and by 2030 Amsterdam will be home to what is being called “comfortably ... the largest bike parking accommodations in the world,” with an estimated 40,000 new spots total.
The plans come as part of a massive, €200 million ($213 million) proposal to bolster the city’s long-term cycle infrastructure, with construction expected to begin in 2017.
That’s not a moment too soon for a city that has long struggled with bicycle overcrowding. In 2011, Amsterdam unveiled a sculpture composed of 200 abandoned bicycles as a visual reminder of the cost of limited parking spaces, many which were filled with long-neglected bikes. What’s more, every year municipal workers are forced to dredge thousands of abandoned bikes from the city’s many canals.