WORLD’S LARGEST BICYCLE PARKING LOT OPENS IN ULTRECHT
BY Zoe Phoon
While in some parts of Malaysia, city councils are struggling to grasp, understand and integrate our changing perspectives on public transportation (read here for more on that), elsewhere in the world giant strides are being made towards the vision of a more eco-conscious urban landscape.
In Holland’s city of Ultrecht, for example, the first phase of what’s to become the largest bicycle parking garage on Earth has just been opened to the public.
What’s more, parking in the Ultrecht garage is free for up to 24 hours.
The City of Ultrecht said in a statement that it is its ultimate wish to have as many bicycle racks as there are bicycles, so that all cyclists can park theirs in a rack.
Currently with a capacity for 6,000 parking spaces, it will have enough space to house 12,500 bikes by late 2018 when fully completed, outpacing the 9,400-capacity of the Kasai underground station in Tokyo, Japan.
The Ultrecht garage and its surrounding area will contain space for 22,000 bikes, according to architecture and design website Archdaily.
The bicycle garage is part of the massive redevelopment of the Stationsplein central railway station by the City of Ultrecht, Pro Rail and NS (Dutch Rail).
The 22,000 total spaces will be divided among five bicycle-specific lots near station entrances to allow for multimodal commuting.
Open 24 hours a day, the parking garage uses a digital system to help riders find their spots, powered by the chip-embedded card used for the city’s transportation systems.
Cyclists will also have access to a bicycle service station that repairs and maintains bicycles and sells parts and accessories.
Parking is divided into three levels with the top and bottom-most used for daytime storage while the middle floor offers longer-term parking.
A special area offers space for unusual bicycle models such as tandems and those with wider handlebars.
In general, the city of Ultrecht deserves applause for thinking ahead of the needs of its citizens, but Dutch society as a whole should be emulated for its outlook on rewarding and encouraging (not penalising) socially conscious ingenuity and enterprise.