Cities are adjusting to the demands of cyclists who want to make commuting into an act that doesn't create a carbon footprint by burning fuel, and gives them some good exercise to boot.
The Netherlands is a cyclist's utopia, so the news that Utrecht was opening a bike parking garage that would become the biggest in the world isn't too surprising. However, The Guardian reports that a lot of people are unhappy with the facility's plan to expand its 6,000 bike parking spots by the end of the year to 12,500. They don't think it's enough!
A Dutch cycling organization called Fietsersbond is arguing that the number of cyclists making their way into Utrecht every day has grown annually for some time, and is up 3% from five years ago. Spokesman Martijn van Es told The Guardian that the expansion is "complacency" rather foresight.
“To quote John Lennon, ‘Life is what happens to you while you are busy making other plans’,” said Van Es.
“By the time the politicians have made their decisions, and by the time things are built, there are more people cycling.“It goes up every year in Netherlands. I look at a lot of cities in the Netherlands and they are just talking about building the infrastructure, but at the same time the figures are still rising. I am from Utrecht. They have been talking about updating the city since 1989. The infrastructure hasn’t changed enough. And there are a lot more cyclists today than there were, [and much of the infrastructure] was built in the 1980s.”
Authorities do agree that the need for bike spots is intense, but it's also a question of where to put the parking. The project manager for Utrecht's station, Tatjana Stenfert, basically said they're just trying to get through the expansion before they make more decisions.
“In Utrecht there are a lot of people coming to the station on bicycle and it was a mess, bikes being left everywhere, so this was needed,” Stenfert said. “We will have 12,500 places by the end of 2018. But then we will have to do some research and find more places for the bikes. It never stops. I look around and everyone is trying hard to find spaces – trying hard and fast.”
There are more facilities for bike parking opening up in other cities around the country all the time" next spring at The Hague a 8,500 parking lot for bikes will open, one in Delft for 5,000 bikes, and Amsterdam is working on plans to develop a 7,000-space bicycle park along their waterfront. That all sounds pretty luxurious from the perspective of someone in the States, but here you're lucky if you can find an unoccupied stop sigh pole to lock to. Maybe a bike parking lot would inspire more people to ride to work in American cities. If you build it, they will bike!