This is what it looks like when bikes are treated the way cars are.

What does truly easy and convenient bicycle parking look like? Well, take a look at this video from Bicycle Dutch (always an excellent source for documentation of prime bike infrastructure in the Netherlands, as well as the rich history of bicycling in that nation):

As part of the construction of a very pleasant new train station in the city of Delft, local authorities constructed a 5,000-space parking garage for bicycles, which opened this past February. Bike parking at the new facility is free for up to 14 days.

As the video shows, the station features seamless entry from the local bike path, two-tier parking (loading a bike onto the top rack is not as tricky as some people make it), electronic signboards that let you know how many free spaces are in each row, train-ticket sales machines, and video monitors that display train departure times. Revolving doors lead you directly into the station, and an escalator takes you down to the platform with commuter trains leaving for the Hague and Rotterdam. There’s even a bike-maintenance shop on the premises, and a bike-share station for those who don’t have their own rides. Upstairs, you’ll find the bus station, and outdoor parking for an additional 3,700 bikes.

Bicycle Dutch’s Mark Wagenbuur notes that Delft’s new bike-parking facility has its problems. Security is lacking; 18 bikes were stolen in the first month of operation, leading to an increase in police patrols and monitoring of surveillance footage. (Dutch bikes come equipped with on-frame locks, but they are a relatively mild deterrent to determined thieves.) And some people who need to leave their bikes at the station for more than two weeks have lobbied for longer-term paid parking facilities.

These caveats aside, the new Delft bike parking is pretty sweet. This is what it looks like when bikes are treated the way cars are in the United States: every convenience is accounted for. It caters to the cyclist's habits and needs the way that a state-of-the-art car parking facility would cater to drivers (car parking, of course, comes at a far greater cost, both financial and spatial). And it allows for a low-stress connection to a superb rail system.

This is how you create a viable and well-loved transportation system based on bicycles and trains: by making the combination easy, safe, and convenient. People don’t use this system out of idealism. They use it because it’s supremely functional and it’s designed to anticipate and accommodate their needs. Imagine that.

About the Author

Most Popular

  1. Environment

    Britain's Next Megaproject: A Coast-to-Coast Forest

    The plan is for 50 million new trees to repopulate one of the least wooded parts of the country—and offer a natural escape from several cities in the north.

  2. Design

    These Sneakers Are Your Free Transit Pass

    A new BVG-Adidas collaboration means unlimited travel along Berlin’s public transit network for the rest of 2018. That is if you can find a pair.

  3. Transportation

    To Measure the 'Uber Effect,' Cities Get Creative

    Ride-hailing companies are cagey on all-important trip data. So researchers are finding clever workarounds.

  4. Equity

    Is It Better to Be Poor in Bangladesh or in the Mississippi Delta?

    The Nobel laureate Angus Deaton discusses extreme poverty, opioid addiction, Trump voters, robots, and rent-seeking.

  5. Climate Change

    Built-Out Barcelona Makes Space for an Urban Forest

    The city is planning a major green makeover to combat the heat island and create a more welcoming place for humans and animals alike.