€220m will not solve Dutch train station bike parking chaos, says railway company

Fears that despite major government investment Dutch stations will still be 60,000 bike parking places short by 2030

by Elliot Johnston   May 13, 2014  

Dutch Cycle Parking (AirBete, Wikimedia Commons)

Chaos caused by overflowing bike racks around Dutch train stations is set to get worse in the coming years according to the Netherlands' railway infrastructure company, ProRail.

Dutch newspaper AD reports that the government’s €220m investment in 100,000 new bike racks will not be enough to stem the growing tide of cyclists - noting the country’s improving economy and its correlation with the swelling cyclist numbers.

Around half a million people in the Netherlands cycle to their local train station each day, amounting to about 40 per cent of all train passengers. ProRail predicts that the issue of overcrowded bike racks will get worse and by 2030 the nation will be 60,000 bike parking places short.

Wilma Mansveld, the Dutch secretary for infrastructure and the environment, told AD that the government’s €220m investment, which ProRail claims is not enough to prevent bike parks from overflowing, is at the limit of what the government can provide in funding to address the issue, and that further investment would have to come from local councils.

Mansveld is set to discuss the overcrowding problem with ProRail, the cyclists’ association Fietsersbond, and national train operator, NS, next year.

Bike racks are just one isue related to bicycle overcrowding in the Netherlands. A report by Dutch road safety body, VeiligheidNL, which we covered in April, said that Dutch cycle paths are at saturation point, too.

Their data showed an increase in the number of bike-on-bike cycle path collisions causing injuries that require a visit to A&E over the last three years.

Their research has lead to concerns about a growth in “anti-social” cycling and and worries that in some areas he cycle paths are approaching the limit of their capacity.

17 user comments

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Perhaps we could offer them some of our expertise on these infrastructure problems?

posted by bikebot [498 posts]
13th May 2014 - 17:59

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I am not sure our authorities would even recognise that there was a problem! Either that, or a discount supply of Nelson's Eyes seems to have been issued to all Councils.

posted by NickK123 [70 posts]
13th May 2014 - 18:29

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Cycle paths too crowded? Why not paint some roads blue? Thinking

Extra bike? What extra bike dear?

goggy's picture

posted by goggy [92 posts]
13th May 2014 - 19:45

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Why can't they simply design a bike that's able to carry 4 or 5 people? Put a roof and maybe some protective panels around the cyclists and if needed and, because of all the extra weight, they could even add an engine of some sort to help them move around more easily. They could puut in more comfortable seats and add various devices to help relieve the boredom while they're travelling.
I have seen the future.

KalaBlinds 'cos we all need our beauty sleep.

posted by don simon [144 posts]
13th May 2014 - 20:26

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I guess the cycling equivalent of the 'firstworldproblems' tag would be 'Dutchproblems'.

posted by FluffyKittenofT... [665 posts]
13th May 2014 - 20:27

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220 million Euro is nothing to a country like the Netherlands. What's their annual budget for road maintenance?

At heart the problem is that rather like Britain their trying to retrofit the infrastructure.

posted by GREGJONES [112 posts]
13th May 2014 - 21:13

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don simon wrote:
Why can't they simply design a bike that's able to carry 4 or 5 people? Put a roof and maybe some protective panels around the cyclists and if needed and, because of all the extra weight, they could even add an engine of some sort to help them move around more easily. They could puut in more comfortable seats and add various devices to help relieve the boredom while they're travelling.
I have seen the future.

I've got one of those, minus the engine, so do loads of Dutch people. Your idea is old. Wink

posted by drfabulous0 [299 posts]
13th May 2014 - 21:35

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Simple solution: stop charging people to take their bikes on trains and provide enough on- train spaces, then they won't park bikes at both ends of their train journeys and taker up two spaces.

posted by a.jumper [698 posts]
13th May 2014 - 22:33

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Sometimes I wish I were Dutch

#dutchproblems

posted by Wolfshade [101 posts]
14th May 2014 - 9:15

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I work in Haarlem sometimes and they built an underground bike park under the station, its very impressive, I bet this cost a lot of dosh but is a nice way of solving the issue,

Unless you have been there and seen it you just cannot believe how many bikes are parked around, I think its fantastic what they have achieved, to me its a nice problem to have.

posted by mikeprytherch [217 posts]
14th May 2014 - 10:28

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a.jumper wrote:
Simple solution: stop charging people to take their bikes on trains and provide enough on- train spaces, then they won't park bikes at both ends of their train journeys and taker up two spaces.

If 40% of their commuters cycle to the station, storing bikes on trains is going to be a much bigger problem than parking them at stations.

posted by HKCambridge [130 posts]
14th May 2014 - 11:31

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HKCambridge wrote:
If 40% of their commuters cycle to the station, storing bikes on trains is going to be a much bigger problem than parking them at stations.

In the extreme, goods vans would be cheaper than land and buildings, no?

posted by a.jumper [698 posts]
14th May 2014 - 11:43

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Solution is clear, they need to get more people off bike and into cars.

posted by mrchrispy [285 posts]
14th May 2014 - 11:58

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Holland's got the same problem that too many people can't live where they work and therefore spend a good deal of time travelling by train or driving to work (you should see their mega motorways jammed up with cars every day - it's not a side they talk about much).
Given Dutch infrastructure, why still do so many use cars? it's still a massive problem and outside the bigger cities, most families still need a car, even if they don't use it quite as much as we do.
I've always maintained I will live where I work and not commute, when I broke that rule, I spent 2 hours next to my husband driving 12 miles because, the road was too dangerous to cycle and for two of us it was much cheaper than getting the train. I only took the job because there were no jobs where we could afford to live and it was where my husband worked so we could travel together.
Just like the UK, the Dutch need to look at how they can make not commuting so far more attractive.
We make travelling seem like the only option, there must be a better way.

posted by Belaroo [44 posts]
14th May 2014 - 12:06

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I agree with Belaroo,

It s simple matter of zoning that councils pursue, keeping places of employment and residential places apart. This all made sense when the workplaces were dirty factories, but since a lot of that has since been exported a better integration of residential, commercial and light industrial units would reduce the need for travel.

For what it's worth I pay a premium to live in the center of Manchester and as a result can commute by bike to all of it, safe in the knowledge that I'll never need a car.

posted by GREGJONES [112 posts]
14th May 2014 - 12:20

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Am I the only one to spot this in the article..."noting the country’s improving economy and its correlation with the swelling cyclist numbers."

So! The more affluent people become, the more likely they are to ride a bike. I must remember this next time a car driver asks me if I want HIM to buy ME a car. My reply will now be "No thanks, Mate! Haven't you heard? Only poor people drive cars!" Big Grin

posted by levermonkey [362 posts]
14th May 2014 - 13:46

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a.jumper wrote:
HKCambridge wrote:
If 40% of their commuters cycle to the station, storing bikes on trains is going to be a much bigger problem than parking them at stations.

In the extreme, goods vans would be cheaper than land and buildings, no?

Probably, but the logistics of loading hundreds of bikes onto every train and unloading them, as well as loading/unloading dozens at each stop, might make the rail system impossible to run and not very efficient to use.

posted by congokid [116 posts]
14th May 2014 - 17:15

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