Monday, May 03, 2010

Bicycle parking given high priority

COPENHAGEN. A lot of cities would like to be like Danish capital Copenhagen, where more than a third of all commuting to and from work and school is done on bicycle. The city even has more bicycles than inhabitants, according to estimates.
But the success for bicycling in Copenhagen and other cities like Amsterdam for instance, creates a challenge for city planners.
Where to find parking spaces for all those bikes?
A couple of months ago I wrote about a report in the Dutch newspaper NRC Handelsblad, where the situation for bicycle parking in Amsterdam and other cities in the Netherlands was described as a mess. In Amsterdam new bicycle parking spaces near the Central Station will be constructed in the coming years, enough to accommodate 10,000 bikes. But authorities estimate that 16,000 spaces will be needed by 2020.
Walking around in Copenhagen, as I did last week, you see bicycles everywhere. Near the Central Station and other important communication hubs there are bikes piled on top of each other.
Along sidewalks parked bikes, often leaning against signs saying that bike-parking is forbidden, create problems for pedestrians and shop keepers.
Copenhagen is known as the best city in the world for bicycling, and city planners are of course aware of the bike parking problem.
In the new City Plan, adopted late last year, ambitions for improvement are spelled out. Here is what’s required at all new developments:
At least 50 percent of all bicycle parking spaces should be covered, either in sheds or as an integrated part of the building.
Housing: 2.5 bike parking spaces are required for every 100 square metres of living area, or alternatively 2.5 parking spaces per housing unit. At student dorms 4 spaces per 100 square metres of housing is required.
Work places: 0.5 bike parking spaces per employee at offices, or 1.5 spaces per 100 square metres of office space.
Educational institutions: 0.5 bike parking spaces per student and employee.
Shops etc: 3 bike parking spaces per 100 square metres of shop area plus 0.5 spaces per employee.
At the same time the City has the ambition to make parking spaces for cars less available in the city centre and at new developments with good public transportation, in order to reduce commuting by car.

Parking garage, Copenhagen style.