The World’s Largest Bike Shed
With the largest amount of bicycles per capita in the world, one would expect the Netherlands to build accommodations for parking all those bicycles. In fact, the Dutch have the largest bicycle garage in the world, one with room for 12,500 bikes.
The giant parking garage is located in Utrecht below Central Station, the country’s busiest public transportation hub. Its central location makes it a busy transport hotspot.
12,500 bicycle parking spaces
The garage was first opened in 2017, at which point it was able to house 7500 bikes. This year, 5000 extra spaces were added, taking it to its current total of 12,500.
The facility is part of a €500 million bicycle parking project surrounding Utrecht’s Central Station. Alongside the 12,500 indoor parking spaces, an additional 8500 spaces will be created in various locations around the station by 2020.
The three floor structure is managed by the Municipality of Utrecht, ProRail and the Dutch Railways (NS). Its goal is to connect the city’s rail and bicycle commutes. The parking facility is open 24/7 and bikes can be parked for free for the first 24 hours.
After entering from one of the two entrances, users check in with their OV-Chipcard – a digital payment system for public transportation – an indication sign will show which parking spaces are available.
Besides there being spaces to park any type of bike, you can also rent one of the 1000 NS-bicycles, which can be hired via a dedicated app. Do you have a flat tire? No problem, there is a service kiosk onsite for repairs and maintenance.
In case you are wondering if people actually use the garage. Since its completion there has been an occupancy rate of 90%, and on Tuesdays and Thursdays the place is completely full.
Cycling culture in the Netherlands
The Netherlands are well-known for its cycling culture. With almost 23 million bicycles and 17 million people, most Dutch households own on average, 2 bikes. The country often serves as an example of a well-established bicycle infrastructure with its 35,000 km of cycle lanes throughout the country.
Bicycle structures, like the Utrecht parking garage, shows the level of commitment the Netherlands has for serious urban bicycle-centered transport systems that improve air quality by eliminating traffic congestion and carbon emissions in our cities.