From the Fietsberaad:
Wednesday 18th August was the opening date for the "Fietsappel" ("Bike Apple"), an unwatched cycle park in the area of the railway station in Alphen aan den Rijn. Travellers and visiters can park their bike for free in this multi storey building of steel in the shape of an Apple. 970 bikes fit within the bike racks in the "apple."
The ‘Fietsappel’ was designed by Wytze Patijn of Kuiper Compagnons. The concept is as an artwork of an apple. The floor is a spiral shaped as an apple. The steel artwork has a width of 27.5 metres and a height of 15.5 metres, the sloped floor goes around the "core" which is a steel column. The outside skin is transparent and gives the impression of space. It was a deliberate choice to make the cycle park feel as open as possible to give a good feeling of social safety.
At the station there are two other parking facilities for cyclists. Under the stationarea is "De Verbinding", which combines a bike tunnel under the railway line with an underground watched cycle park of 1280 parking spaces and next to it there are now two unwatched cycle parks. The "Kerk en Zanen" with 600 places and the new Fietsappel with 970 spaces.
This brings the total number of cycle parking spaces at Alphen aan den Rijn station to 2850. The town has a population of around 72000 people, so there are places for around one in 25 residents to park a bike at the railway station.
This is not exceptional, but actually quite normal. It is a similar proportion to other railway stations in the Netherlands - and somewhat different from the situation in London, other places in the UK, and indeed the rest of the world.
The Netherlands doesn't just have one or two "cycling cities." It's the whole country. There's quite a collection here of railway station cycle parking stories on this blog.
Update Jan 2011: Daniel Sparing visited the Fietsappel and took some photos.
There's now an official translation as well
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