Amsterdam has an enormous parking garage, and it is underwater and only for bicycles - about 7,000 of them to be exact.
Amsterdam Underwater Parking Garage For Bicycles
It is a marvel to see Amsterdam's underwater and enormous parking garage just for bicycles. Today, in 2023, this is a valuable thing to have, especially if you are encouraging people to get exercise. This parking garage is in Amsterdam's Central Station. It has space for about 6,300 personal bicyles and 700 more for bike share bicycles to be used.
This project cost about $65 million and that might seem like a lot of money to someone who doesn't live in the Netherlands. After all, it's just for about 7,000 bicycles. Why pay that much money? One reason is that cities need less cars on the road - both for less pollution, and more for the short distances most people travel and the need to use something that makes more sense.
There are videos of this parking garage being built that show the workers draining the water in front of the 19th-century station before laying the garage floor and installing all the giant columns that hold it up, shipped in by barge. The roof is supported by these columns and that would eventually be submerged.
There are about 200,000 travelers that go to Amsterdam's Central Station every day whether it be by rail, ferry, tram, bus, subway, or other means. About half of these arrive by bicycle and for those people, they'd traditionally park in many of the messy above-ground bicycle stalls that surround the stations and are scheduled to be removed in the weeks ahead.
Amsterdam's Future of Parking
The nice thing about having a bicycle parking garage that puts all the bicycles in one place is that it is easy to navigate to and a lot less difficult to simply abandon a bike that takes up space in the city. In fact, if someone does leave a bike in the city, they risk having it get impounded by the city. Many people have had this happen to their bikes because they attached them to a tree, streetlamp, signpost, or just left them out in the open where they could be stolen.
The replacement of that is this underwater parking garage for bicycles. It gives off the look of something futuristic, however, the use case for it is anything but futuristic. It simply stores - and very efficiently at that - bicycles to be parked and retrieved by those that need them.
When you park in this parking garage, it is free for the first 24 hours and about $1.46 for each day after that. That's not too bad at all and is an excellent motivation for people to get their bikes quickly. Most people will end up not paying for their parking.
There is a street-level bike path that leads you directly to the entrance of the underwater bicycle parking garage with a large blue sign and bike logo. You can see this easily from a distance. The sign shows the number of parking places still available, which makes it easy to see if you can take your bike there to park. If it is full, you simply need to find alternate parking.
There are red and green lights on the vertical columns that hold up the parking garage, which makes it easy to see which rows of bicycle racks have open spaces available. You can take any space that is open and available to put your bike. Once you are parked, there is an escalator at the other end of the garage that gives you access to Amsterdam's Central Station.
What do you think of this underwater parking garage? Is it worth the $65 million used to build it?
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