Wednesday, 11 September 2013

Bus stop bike parking. Enormous need on weekdays, less on weekends. Mass parked bikes in The Netherlands are not "abandoned".

2006 situation at Marsdijk bus stop in Assen. Note old inferior
road crossing at the western side with traffic lights for bikes
which no longer exist. Courtesy Bing Maps.
When we first moved to Assen there was a lot of work taking place at the North of the city. A road was being rebuilt to provide better access by motor vehicle to the North and the cycle-path alongside was also being rebuilt to provide a far better route by bicycle to the North.

There was also work going on to provide more space for business in the same part of the city, so new office buildings were constructed

Google Maps image marked to show current day cycle-parking
in red. The new office building (blue spot) required extra
car parking. Overall there are fewer car parking spaces
now than in 2006, but far more bicycle parking spaces.
Note also the improved road crossing. Cyclists no longer stop
At the same time, the facilities for buses were being improved. The existing bus-stop which could take just one bus at a time was expanded into four bus stops. At the time, the cycle-parking for the bus stops was considerably enlarged as well.

The bus services from this stop have been successful and therefore because people cycle to this bus-stop, more cycle-parking was required.

The cycle-parking has been expanded since it was originally built by taking away car parking spaces. The full extent of cycle-parking now is as shown in the image where cycle-parking is highlighted in red. Some of this was built over spaces which had been constructed as car parking only a few years previously.

This bus stop is on the Study Tour route so we have shown it with varying amounts of cycle-parking to quite a few visitors to Assen. Because we always operate the tour on week days, the cycle-parking is usually full with bicycles which belong to commuters (you can catch a bus from here to Groningen or other towns and cities). However, if you visit the same location on the weekend, the cycle-parking is almost empty.

There is a persistent myth about how massed bikes at Dutch railway and bus stations are "abandoned" however this is not true. The rates of usage are enormous compared with other countries and actually the people who manage cycle-parks like this are very efficient at removing abandoned bikes so that legitimate users can find a space.

The video shows the same cycle-park both on a week day (Wednesday of the last Study Tour so some participants are in the video) and on a Sunday so that you can see the vastly different rate of use:

Click for bigger video

Explore the area on Google Maps:

Bigger map. Google Maps data currently dates from 2009 so does not show the most recent changes in the area. There's a bus lane here, but it is not combined with the cycle-path. I've never seen a combined bus and bike lane in the Netherlands.

There are hundreds of spaces here, and their presence demonstrates which you can't take bicycles on buses in The Netherlands. It's nice to be able to do so, but it only works if very few people use a bicycle to get to the bus stop. In The Netherlands you can't rely on that.

The long red building is both a football club and Chinese restaurant.

Update November 2013
This cycle parking was upgraded again in November. The parked bikes are now sheltered from the weather.
Today the September open Study Tour is viewing this bus stop amongst many other locations in Assen.

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