Netherlands opens world’s largest bicycle parking at train station
The new extension of the Stationsplein bicycle parking was opened at Utrecht Centraal station on 19 August. As a result, the storage capacity of this parking area increased up to 12,500 two-wheelers. The facility became the largest bicycle parking both in the Netherlands and in the world.
The Stationsplein bicycle parking has beaten the previous record of 9,400 two-wheelers. Such capacity has the Kasai Station Bicycle Parking in Tokyo opened in 2008. The paring facility at Utrecht Centraal station includes three floors and a cycle path between them. Each floor is equipped with double-deck racks and a digital system that helps cyclists to find free places.
In addition to 12,500 parking places, the facility offers space for 1,000 rented bicycles (OV-fiets) provided by the Dutch railway operator Nederlandse Spoorwegen (NS). The bike parking works 24 hours a day and seven days a week. The customers are able to store their bicycles for free during the first 24 hours, after that the option costs 1,25 Euros per day. Totally, there are 22,000 spaces to park the bicycles around Utrecht Centraal station.
The project was implemented jointly by the Municipality of Utrecht, the Dutch rail infrastructure manager ProRail and railway company NS. The parties also manage the facility together. “We have been modernising and expanding the parking facilities for twenty years. With the increasing pressure on the coveted space around stations, this becomes increasingly difficult. But a parking facility like this in Utrecht shows that we are still succeeding. We continue to encourage the bicycle use for travelling to stations,” Director of Projects at ProRail Ans Rietstra said.
By bike to train
Cycling is the most popular way among Dutch passengers to go to a train station. “The busier our city centres become, the more relevant the combination of a bicycle and train becomes. Because train and bicycle are best friends and complement each other perfectly. Half of the train travellers come to the station by bicycle and the growth of our OV-fiets service is overwhelming,” CEO of NS Roger van Boxtel noted.
At the same time, State Secretary Stientje van Veldhoven pointed out that the number of bicycle parking places in the Netherlands has increased from 200,000 to 490,000 in recent years. “With the extra money that the government is allocating for this, there will be many more bicycle places at busy stations throughout the country,” she specified. In 2017 the Dutch government decided to invest 100 million Euros in the cycling projects. A year later, an additional 75 million Euros were allocated for construction of the bicycle parking facilities.