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  • 02.25.15

Amsterdam Is Planning On Building An Underwater Parking Garage For Bikes

What to do about too many bikes? Let people park them underwater.

Amsterdam Is Planning On Building An Underwater Parking Garage For Bikes
[Top photo: Milosz_M via Shutterstock]

Here’s what you might call a good problem, at least from an urban design standpoint: Amsterdam has so many bikes, it’s going to build a partially underwater bicycle parking garage to hold them all.

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According to Dutch newspaper Parool, the nation’s capital plans to build a 7,000-space bike parking garage under Amsterdam’s IJ river. It’s part of a broader scheme that would see Amsterdam add 21,500 more bike spaces by 2030, the rest of which will be spread out around Central Station, Amsterdam’s iconic central meeting point, as well as over two man-made islands, still to be constructed.

Joeppo via Shutterstock

Considering that a stop sign pole is the closest thing Amsterdam has to official bike storage, a committment to build out 21,500 parking spaces seems inconceivable. But Amsterdam needs them–as CityLab points out, 57% of all Amsterdammers bike daily, and 43% commute to work using their bikes.

This lack of storage has in turn created a surge of confiscations: in 2013, Amsterdam removed 73,000 bikes from the streets. Worse, it costs the city five times as much to confiscate a bike than they charge to release it from the bike pound. The discrepancy has to do with Amsterdam’s out-of-control bike theft rates, and the city fears that if it raises the fine, even more Amsterdammers will abandon their bikes once they’ve been confiscated.

The lesson to take from this? While having a lot of people commute to work on bikes is a great alternative to automobile gridlock, having too many bikes on the road also leads to unique design and infrastructure challenges. It’s a good problem to have, but a problem, none the less.

[via CityLab]

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