[This story is by Todd Boulanger, a former transportation planner for the City of Vancouver who has been soaking up the bike infrastructure of Europe. In this report he shares some views of a bike parking project at a public square in Amsterdam.]
(All photos © Todd Boulanger)
While traveling around Amsterdam by tram recently I passed a private car parking lot half-filled with clustered bike racks. This is not too unusual for the Netherlands, but my curiosity grew when I saw large notice boards with photos of the racks displayed at each end of the lot. I got off the tram on Marnixstraat to investigate.
The City of Amsterdam and the Dutch Cycling Union are currently seeking public comment on what type of bicycle parking racks should be installed in the city center. They want to find the rack that works best not just for parking, but for minimizing the chaos and clutter on sidewalks.
The city has installed several examples of each rack with background information in a public square (Raamplein). Some of the 18 racks utilize new designs on loan from six companies and specifically developed for this six-month demonstration (you can see photos of all the racks here).
The square will soon be redeveloped to include more landscaping and trees, a fountain, and pedestrian space (all instead of car parking). Under this future park plaza will be a 1000 stall bike garage (you can download the plans for the square here).
After several visits, I found that Amsterdammers tended to like the same racks that Portlanders like: solid ‘staple’ type racks with two points of contact and minimal decorative flourishes. Pretty can be good as long as it does not get in the way of parking or reduce security.
It will be interesting to see which racks are selected. We’ll update this story once a decision is made.