Bicycle parking is one of the three pillars of the Long-term Bicycle Plan 2017-2022, in addition to Infrastructure and Behaviour and Innovation. The goal is to improve ‘easy parking’ for bicycles. This means that cyclists in Amsterdam can quickly find a free parking space near their destination, and that sufficient space remains for pedestrians.
Priority bottleneck locations are identified in the Long-Term Bicycle Plan (appendix 5, page 82); they are principally shopping streets, main streets and nightlife areas. In these areas, the aim is to better facilitate bicycle parking and to reduce the inconvenience of parked bicycles.
To ensure these busy areas are bicycle-friendly, we have set three golden rules:
In recent years, the streets of Amsterdam’s ‘Red Carpet’ route from Central Station through the city centre, and various nightlife areas, have been named as ‘designated areas’ in which bikes may only be parked in a bicycle parking facility (parking space, rack or garage) with a maximum parking duration of six weeks. This regulation can be enforced.
In all busy areas, the principle is that cyclists who wish to park their bikes for a short period should do so in the appropriate marked parking spaces. These spaces provide no racks or similar options for securing your bicycle. Cyclists who wish to park for longer should place their bicycle in a rack or garage (and may have to walk a little further to their destination).
This desired outcome is hindered by the shortage of bicycle parking facilities, unfamiliarity with the rules (and the specific rules that apply in designated areas) and the specific Amsterdam context and bicycle culture. There is a strong association between bicycles and freedom, and we are used to being able to park our bikes directly at our destination. A restriction on anything related to bicycles is therefore seen as a restriction on freedom, and additional rules are quickly perceived as municipal meddling.
It is particularly difficult for residents of busy areas (shopping streets, main streets and nightlife areas) to park their bicycles conveniently. At peak times, the facilities are often insufficient, and mainly consist of marked parking spaces (which are intended for short-term parking). The parking facilities are not always in the vicinity, and bike parking garages are only free for the first 24 hours.
A waterbed effect is produced at the edges of the designated areas; there are more bikes than there are available facilities, and they are often parked chaotically. The aim is to encourage correct bicycle parking outside of designated areas, too, even though enforcement there is not possible. The challenge is to inform everyone (both residents and one-off visitors) about the regulations (without being too strident) and to find bicycle-friendly solutions for residents in designated areas.
The question/assignment for startups
Find a solution that:
The emphasis is on influencing behaviour and/or on small technical or physical solutions; we are emphatically not looking for bike parking facilities or other large, physical (and expensive) solutions.
Mobility and Public Space (Verkeer & Openbare Ruimte, V&OR)
Long-Term Bicycle Plan 2017-2022 (Meerjarenprogramma Fiets 2017-2022)
Approach to Bicycle Parking Bottlenecks (Knelpuntenaanpak Fietsparkeren)