It fits 7,000 bikes — and no cars allowed.
In the global effort to disincentivize emissions-heavy automobile use, no one is doing it quite like the Dutch.
The city of Amsterdam just unveiled a truly remarkable underwater parking garage for the city's many cyclers, making it easier than ever for bikers to commute, clearing the above-ground streets of thousands of messy, jumbled bike racks, and ultimately, making cars that much more irrelevant in the famously bike-friendly city, according to The Verge.
The garage is built at Amsterdam's Centraal Station, where, per the Verge, roughly 200,000 travelers — half on bicycle — pass through each day. In total, the build took four years, ran up a $65 million bill, and can fit 7,000 bikes at once.
And trust us, it really is a sight to behold.
An underwater bike parking garage - definitely the most Dutch infrastructure project out there! 🇳🇱@AmsterdamNL built a garage for 6,300 bikes under the canals in a @UNESCO site in 4 yrs, all while maintaining pedestrian, bike, tram, & metro traffic.🚶🏻♀️🚲🚋🚊🏗#InfraNerdHeaven pic.twitter.com/jAiIuHAnpw
— Sonam Velani (@sonamvelani) January 18, 2023
Pros v Cons
Beyond an easier commute, other pros include wildly affordable fees, especially by American standards — underwater bike parking is free for the first 24 hours, and then just $1.46 per each additional day — and little to no delays getting in and out of the building, according to the Verge. You do need a certain bank card or bike tag, but the bike tag is apparently easy to pick up. The structure also houses a bike-share program, which is great for folks passing through.
Indeed, the whole experience seems pretty streamlined, and inexpensive to boot. But there are some caveats, among them being that the structure reportedly can't house cargo bikes or increasingly popular electric bikes. There apparently aren't any e-bike charging ports, either.
Even so, these oversights certainly seem rectifiable, and like small bananas compared to the structure's many merits.
The Netherlands is undoubtedly one of the world's leaders in both environmentally-forward policy and climate-mitigating infrastructure measures. Authorities are well aware that about a third of their nation — an area that includes their capital city — is below sea level, and are continuing to build on decades of very cool innovation towards a more sustainable, bike- and public transport-happy future.
That all said, Holland is very small, and a project like this is relatively easy to rally support for when, as the Verge points out, about 35 percent of citizens use their bikes daily. But it's still an engineering marvel.
READ MORE: Amsterdam's underwater parking garage fits 7,000 bicycles and zero cars [The Verge]
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