Monday 17 May 2010

Groningen railway station cycle parking revisited

I often cover the problems with providing enough cycle parking at railway stations in the Netherlands. These problems are continuing, as are attempts at solving them.

In 2006, Groningen finished a very impressive new underground cyclepark at the main railway station, called the stadsbalkon. I covered it 18 months ago (including a video showing how the double layer racks work). The new park was originally to hold around 3000 bikes, but during the design stage it was expanded to around 4150. This brought the total number of bicycles which could be parked around Groningen station to around 6500, which is about one for every 30 residents of the city.

However, before the stadsbalkon was even completed, the cycling officer of the city, Cor van de Klaauw, expressed concerns that they had not actually done enough.

The cycle park has strict rules about not being allowed to leave a bike for longer than 12 days, and also removes badly parked bikes, but there are still not enough spaces.

The number of spaces in the stadsbalkon has now been expanded to 5150 places and along with other additions the total number around the station is to be around 9800, bringing the number of cycle parking spaces at the station to around one for every twenty citizens.

There are two other smaller railway stations in Groningen, each with substantial cycle parking, though not as much as this main station.

The sign at the end warns people who have parked their bikes here that they will have to move them for the period of the expansion of the cycle park. This has now been completed.

Cycle usage in Groningen continues to grow rapidly. The fietsberaad recentlty reported that regular measurements made in spring-time at forty locations in Groningen show a continuation in growth in cycle traffic. At the 40 locations of the count, 230000 cyclists were seen in a day. Six of the locations had more than 10000 cyclists per day, the busiest two both seeing more than 14000 cyclists per day. Overall, cycling has increased by 7% over 2008 and 15% over 2007. The population of Groningen is 188000.

The photos were taken on different days by Judy and myself.

Fietsberaad article in Dutch.


Lars said...

I would consider this a "good" problem. Certainly a problem that needs to be addressed, but also a problem to be proud of... My hometown Hamburg is so far behind, but hopefully we'll catch up and have similar problems.

Unknown said...

Incredible growth statistics in Gronningen David..thanks!

Roger D said...

Why so many yellow saddle covers?

David Hembrow said...

Roger, the yellow covers are advertising. I'm not sure what for in this case. People tend to keep their free saddle covers, so I guess it's quite effective.

Anonymous said...

That is a very nice bike park indeed. With finding a space to park being difficult in some places is there a move towards smaller bikes amongst the cycle plus train commuters. The classic dutch roadster must take up more space than a modern folder. Lastly, if you arrive on a tricycle or velomobile can you park?
Mark Garrett, Bristol UK

David Hembrow said...

Mark, folding bikes are extremely popular. Also, yes you can park your bike if it's larger and more valuable. You can use the indoor guarded parking (paid for), where they have room for scooters as well. At Groningen there is a lot of guarded parking, some of it is shown in the third photo down.

Anonymous said...

is there so much crime that guarded parking is necessary? or is it just that people like to feel safe?

David Hembrow said...

Jon, it's a bit of both. There are quite a lot of bikes stolen in NL. However, all of this cycle park is covered by cameras so there is at least in theory a chance of seeing who made off with your bike. Some people like their bikes to be more secure.

There is a full bike shop at the station as well, where you can buy bikes, hire bikes, take a bike from the OV-Fiets shared bike scheme or leave your bike for maintenance while it's parked.

Anonymous said...

@Jon. Not only what David said, but it's also more practical and estethically pleasing to give cyclists specialist parking. Try to imagine what it looks like to have a couple of thousand bikes strewn against walls, lampposts, trees, etc, all around a trainstation. Its unsightly, cumbersome, impractical and the people don't like it. By providing neat parking space, the authorities a) encourage people to take a bike to and from the station, b) clear up public space and c) provide a welcome service.
That it also discourages bicycle thieves is a bonus.

A couple of years ago, there wasn't enough parking space for Leiden Central Station either. People parked their bikes in front of it whicht looked like this:
Now they've build an underground bikepark (and there is another aboveground to the side of the station as well) which looks like this:

Which has cleared up the square in front of the station (pretty!) AND provide people with shelter for their bikes from the elements and junks with boltcutters as well. Win-win!
(sorry, I don't know how to make links)


Anonymous said...

@Marion aka Anonymous number 2.

I do see the need for bicycle parking, i just wondered if there was really a need for a guarded parking space which i suppose costs extra than just an unguarded parkingspace.

OMW said...

To me it seems that individual ownership is the problem. The netherlands is clearly no longer in need of encouraging people to cycle. Would some sort of shared ownership model not work better where penetration is so high?

David Hembrow said...

OMW: I really don't think shared ownership works except for a very small part of the overall picture. After all, not everyone wants to ride the same bike.

For those who can use it, the OV-Fiets scheme in the Netherlands has shared bikes at 208 different locations across the country, including this railway station.

Anyway, it's not that big a problem. Other cities provide just as much car parking, which takes up a lot more space than cycle parking does.

Unknown said...

This was again front page news today (a summary):

High-tech approach station bicycle parking

Bicycle parking around stations is a huge problem. Extra racks have proven to be no solution. Many bikes are there for long periods or are even completely abandoned and they clutter the racks. The system will have to be changed.

One new measurement to tackle this problem is electronic bike racks that keep track of the parking time. If the rack shows that the maximum parking time is exceeded the bike will be removed. A trial will be held in Utrecht and Groningen beginning in the end of 2010.

Kim said...

Wow and Edinburgh cyclist thought they were luck when that got 2 sets of 40 spaces each!