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Why bicycle parking garages make a difference

Cities are beginning to adjust their infrastructure in an effort to become more inclusive when it comes to active transportation methods. Active transportation is any kind of human-powered form of travel. This includes walking, cycling, running, skateboarding, rollerblading and more.

One method of active transportation in particular is quite popular and has the potential to really transform the way we use our roads and build our cities. As you might have guessed…this method of transportation is cycling!

Ever since the COVID-19 lockdowns, there has been a dramatic increase in bicycle sales around the world. It’s no secret that people have been exploring new hobbies over the course of the pandemic, and this so-called bike boom might result in significant and long-lasting changes when it comes to the way we get around in our cities.

For example, many cities around the world have taken measures to create more space for bikes on the road. In Paris, hundreds of kilometers of pop-up cycle lanes have been added along the rue de Rivoli which stretches through the heart of the city.

We can see how bicycle-friendly infrastructure such as bike lanes and bike paths go hand-in-hand with increased rates of cycling. If we want to encourage people to keep cycling, we need to provide cyclists with amenities and services that make this method of transportation safe, flexible, fun, and efficient!

Bicycle Security

Despite all these advancements in bicycle-related infrastructure, there might still be one issue which is preventing people from cycling in the city. This issue is bicycle security.

It is no secret that bicycles are valuable assets that might be subject to theft. And unfortunately, bicycle theft isn’t too difficult when bike racks and bike locks are the main method of storing your bike in public. Many people feel that this method of storage just isn’t secure enough. Even for those who don’t mind using a bike rack, the reality is that there often just aren’t enough of them where they are needed.

If biking is your main means of transportation, you shouldn’t have to worry about whether you will be able to find a free spot in the bike rack or if your bike will still be where you left it once you’re ready to head home! This is where bicycle parking garages come into play!

The many benefits of bicycle parking garages

A bicycle parking garage is pretty self explanatory… the name says it all! It is a building or structure which is used as a bicycle parking facility. They look quite similar to automobile parking garages and are just as secure.

If you’re wondering why bicycle parking garages are so great, here are some of the many benefits:

  • Security. Instead of leaving your bicycle chained up to a bike rack which is out in the open where anyone could pass by, access to bicycle parking garages often requires a chip card and more security is provided with on-site staff.

  • Convenient. Bicycle parking garages make biking an obvious transportation choice, as it eliminates the worry of not being able to find a bike rack. The more popular these become, the more normalized biking as a form of transportation will be! Bicycle parking garages will sometimes have space for you to store additional belongings such as your helmet and other personal items.
  • Shelter. While bicycles are quite resilient to short-term exposure to rain, snow, and other weather events, it is nice to have the option to keep your bicycle dry. This option is even better if you are someone who rides a bike quite often in all kinds of weather, as long-term exposure to rain, cold, or humidity can cause your bike parts to corrode.

  • Facilities. Bicycle parking garages are more than glorified bike racks. In many cases, they provide users with washroom and shower facilities, bicycle repair services, and free to use air pumps for tires.
  • Central locations. Bicycle parking garages are often located in central areas or near transportation hubs, allowing cyclists to get around easier, linking the bike trip with other modes of transportation whether that be on foot, by train, or by bus.

The largest bicycle parking garage in the world

Cities around the world should take note from Utrecht in the Netherlands, regarding bicycle parking garages. Utrecht’s Stationsplein Bicycle Parking complex – located under the city’s main transportation hub – was designed by Ector Hoogstad Architecten, and is the largest bicycle parking facility in the world.

This three-level parking lot is open 24/7 and is accessible by using a public-transport chip card. Due to its size, cyclists are actually able to cycle indoors, making it easier and faster to find a parking stall. Of course, they are also assisted by a digital system which guides them to free parking spaces.

This parking garage currently has enough room to park over 12,500 bicycles. Parking is free for the first 24 hours. After that, it costs €1.25 for every consecutive 24 hours. Since the parking garage is located under the central train station, there is also a longer-term parking subscription that comes in handy for those who are travelling and need to leave their bikes for longer periods of time.

This parking garage is a wonderful addition to the city of Utrecht, and of course, a testament to the strong cycling culture of the Netherlands. But we can all learn from this example, that one of the keys to creating a culture of cycling and active transportation, is to ensure that the right infrastructure is available. This then makes low carbon living an obvious choice for more people, and that gets us to where we need to go!

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