Historically, the Dutch have always been fervent cyclists. This enthusiasm is growing even further as cycling is being discovered as key to the sustainable city. The introduction of the e-bike helps to amplify this shift in mass transportation. More and more public transport hubs will be complemented with amenities for cyclists, as increasing amounts of people favour the combination of cycling and public transport over cars.
The Utrecht Central station area is currently undergoing a major makeover. A new public street is being inserted aimed mainly at pedestrians. It rises by means of 30 meter wide stairs to a level of 6 meters to widen into a square, marked by an enormous iconic canopy, where the entrance of the station is situated.
A three storey bicycle parking is situated underneath the square. It has been designed with three aims in mind: convenience, speed and safety. In order to achieve these, cyclists are enabled to pedal all the way up to their parking slot. The parking lanes branch off the cycle paths, to ensure pedestrians never cross with cyclists. Modestly sloping ramps connect the parking areas on different levels and electronic signals indicate the position of free parking slots. Additional facilities such as a cycle repair shop and a cycle rental outlet meet users’ every need. Cycling through the garage has become a unique experience, an attraction in its own right.
The first phase of the project was opened in early August 2017, providing room for 6,000 bicycles. When the cycle parking area is fully completed in 2018 it will have a world record capacity of over 13,500 bikes.
Ector Hoogstad Architecten (in collaboration with Sant&Co and Royal Haskoning DHV) won the commission to design the project in a invited competition in 2011