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Gallery: Take a peek inside the world's largest bicycle parking garage

Joseph Delves
19 Aug 2019

Free and secure storage for 12,500 bikes opens in the centre of Utrecht. Photos: CU 2030, Gerrit Serné, Petra Appelhof

The city of Utrecht in the central Netherlands has completed the construction of the world's largest bicycle parking store. Spread over three floors, the stunning space was designed by Ector Hoogstad Architects and looks more like a museum or gallery than a traditional carpark.

Costing €30 million, the project will also provide ongoing employment for around 40 workers, many of whom had been facing some degree of disadvantage in the labour market.

Started in November 2014, the ‘Stationsplein’ has been completed in waves. The first, providing 6,000 spaces, was finished in August 2017 before an additional 1,500 spaces were added in October of that year. The completion of the final phase on the 19th August 2019 adds a further 5,000 spaces, bringing the total to 12,500 and making the facility the largest of its kind.

‘Due to its size, its multiple floors, its public cycle path, and the fact that you can cycle in the facility, we couldn't predict how the facility would work in advance,’ explained a spokesperson for the project.

‘We therefore investigated how signage and safety could be improved even in the initial phase. After opening the second phase, we will continue with that.

'The first year, we monitored how everything worked along with how it could be improved. The aim being to learn by doing and to make the parking facility more functional’.

With over four football-pitches' worth of floor space, helping users find a place to park are a total of 161 smart digital signs. With riding permitted within the facility, these aim to quickly direct riders to available racks.

Able to accommodate over 10 times the number of bicycles that an equivalent facility for cars could take, the Stationsplein is located next to the city’s key rail links.

Allowing users to store their bike for free for up to 24 hours, thereafter users will incur a charge of €1.25 per 24 hour period for standard bikes and €2.50 for larger cargo bikes.

Home to a fleet of 1,000 public transport bicycles (OV-fiets) that can be rented out for short journeys, the facility also boasts a public service centre.

Part of a bold plan to transform the city for the benefit of residents, pedestrians and cyclists, as home to 330,000 people Utrecht boasts a bike-ownership rate of around 96%. This, along with improved facilities, has seen a huge 60% of people choosing to cycle when visiting the city centre.

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