Wednesday 3 December 2008

Temporary cycle parking in Den Haag

The Fietsberaad just sent another newsbrief. Among the interesting cycle facts this month, Den Haag is in the middle of building a new underground cycle park by the main railway station in the city.

The photo shows the temporary cycle park at the station which has been put in place for commuters to use while they wait for the new facility. This temporary cycle park has 2500 spaces. As you'll see, cycling is taken seriously, including when works are being carried out. It is vitally important that cyclists don't lose the habit of cycling. I also have a picture of a temporary cycle bridge.

As you can see from the top photo, this cycle park was built somewhat larger than the original artist's impression in order to accommodate more bikes.

Den Haag is not alone
Cycle-parking at railway stations is growing rapidly all across the Netherlands as the requirement for it has also grown rapidly since the early 1990s.

Other examples on this blog include Groningen's main railway station, and the station in Assen, both of which have been written about more than once, or see all railway station articles. To get an appreciation of the number of spaces needed for cycle parking even at a small village, see this post.

Update March 2012
This cycle-park was eventually named "the bike tower". While it was supposed to have been demolished when the new underground cycle-parking was complete, The Hague Municipality and the railway company now predict that 11400 cycle-parking spaces will be needed at the railway station by 2020 and there won't be room for them all in the new underground cycle-park. As a result, this "temporary" cycle-park will become a permanent structure and its capacity will be expanded to 3550 bicycles, an increase of more than a thousand over the original size.

This story actually has a very familiar ring about it, as something very similar happened in Groningen. A temporary multi-storey cycle-park erected during construction of the main new underground was not demolished, but renovated with extra capacity, even though the new underground cycle-park also had its capacity nearly doubled from the original plan. This is a reflection of how cycling has grown, and continues growing, in the Netherlands.

I have other posts with more facts about trains in the Netherlands, a series of posts on integrated transport, and other posts about cycle parking and Dutch railway stations.


njh said...

I see there are tram tracks. A common complaint of cyclists in both Melbourne and San Francisco is that tram tracks make cycling a hazard. Is this a perception in Amsterdam?

(The solution is to provide specific bike lanes/roads, something that Melbourne is only just doing, and San Francisco got bogged down in a legal fight over)

Personally I've ridden along tram tracks many times, but maybe I'm just less risk adverse.

David Hembrow said...

Tram tracks are quite dangerous for cyclists, and I can't say I'm that enthusiastic about cycling over them. Crossing the track is pretty safe, travelling parallel with them is the worst case.

Generally there is separate cycling infrastructure so you don't have to get too close.

Not all cities in the Netherlands have trams. Amsterdam and Den Haag (60 km from Amsterdam) do have them.

Dave Ooivaar said...

I live in Den Haag, and there are only two places in the city where I regularly have to travel along tram lines - generally the separate bike paths take you everywhere. The answer to tram lines is to have fatter tyres - I've got an electra fiets with 3" tyres, and riding along the tracks is not a problem - people on racebikes find things a lot more difficult.

I've also lived in London, but rarely cycled to the station because there was never anywhere to leave the bike. I think that it people feel more confident that their ride will still be there when they get back, they're more likely to cycle to the station. Rail networks and governments who are serious about encouraging cyclists need to build larger, more secure bike parking facilities or it is simply window dressing.