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Friday, February 3, 2023

Amsterdam opens largest bicycle garage. You’ll never guess where…

World NewsAmsterdam opens largest bicycle garage. You’ll never guess where…

Struggling with ever-shrinking space to park its hundreds of thousands of bicycles, Amsterdam on Wednesday inaugurated its largest-ever bicycle parking complex, built underwater as part of a major engineering project.

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The shelter has been built below the Open Haven Front, a tributary of the city’s IJ river access, and will be followed by another along the IJ that will open in February.

They will have a combined capacity of 11,000 bikes in the cycling-mad Dutch capital.

“Together the shelters will be the largest in the city,” the Amsterdam municipality said, with the open haven front storage able to hold 7,000 bicycles and the IJ-side site around 4,000.

Construction began in 2019 and included the drainage of part of the open haven front next to Amsterdam Central Station.

A time-lapse video posted by the Amsterdam municipality showed how the water was pumped out, the structure built and the area eventually refilled.

“We have a lot of knowledge and expertise when it comes to water,” Dutch Deputy Infrastructure Minister Vivian Heijnen told AFP at the opening ceremony.

He said the collection “makes the best use of the space you have in a small country”.

Conveyor belts transport cyclists nine meters (30 feet) below ground level, according to WUrck, the architectural firm that designed the ultra-modern parking spaces meant to evoke their oceanic surroundings.

“The cyclist steps into an imaginary oyster with a rugged exterior of basalt and natural stone and a smooth, light interior,” the firm said in a statement.

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“Now you can be assured that you can park your bicycle immediately when you come to Amsterdam station,” said Melanie van der Horst, the city’s transport alderwoman.

According to the city’s 2021 Bicycle Monitor Plan, Amsterdam has an estimated 900,000 bicycles with about 625,000 trips made per day — and finding adequate parking has long been a headache.


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