You know your bike culture is strong when people are having a hard time finding a place to park their rides – and that’s just what’s happening in Amsterdam right now. The Dutch city is running out of room for the 880,000 bikes that travel – and park – along its canals. In an effort to deal with the problem, Amsterdam is planning to create 40,000 new bike parking spaces by 2030.
The city has invested for years in its bicycle infrastructure and combined with the flat, cycle-friendly terrain, a huge bike culture has developed around that effort. But now the problem of where to park all these bikes has reared its head. But fear not, there is a plan.
As CityLab explains: “The city has just announced a plan to excavate a 7,000-space bicycle garage under the Ij, the former bay (now a lake thanks to the construction of the Afsluitdijk barrier) that forms Amsterdam’s waterfront. The lake forms a sort of moat around the city’s Central Station, its main transit hub and a place where it could be possible to connect a subaquatic bike catacomb directly via tunnel to the city’s metro system. Stacking a total of 21,500 new bike spaces around the station by 2030, Amsterdam also plans to create two new floating islands with space for 2000 bikes each. Add this to the 2,500 spaces already in place and you have what will comfortably be the largest bike parking accommodations in the world.”
If this sounds like a massive undertaking, you’re right. But in Amsterdam it’s a necessity, not an option. Bikes are serious business in the city, with 57 percent of locals using their bikes daily and 43 percent commuting to and from work via their bicycles.
Errantly parked bikes are such a problem there that the city had to remove 73,000 improperly parked bikes from the streets, at a cost of $55 to $80 per bike to remove them. Owners then have to pay $12 to $14 to retrieve them, amounting to a whole lot of cost for everybody.