Bicycle warehouse shows Dutch ambitionShareThis
We all know the Dutch do things differently when it comes to cycling infrastructure. So it is no surprise that when they do a cycle hubs/cycle centre they do it with such elegance that it makes anything the UK do look positively third world.
Any UK cities that have plans to introduce cycle hubs/centres to try and encourage cycling commuting would do well to look at Zaandam’s fietsenpakhuis bicycle warehouse.
Set near to the main shopping area of Zaandam (which is a town just north of Amsterdam), the fietsenpakhuis bicycle warehouse can house up to 700 bicycles. It was built to alleviate of all things bicycle congestion on the main shopping road in Zaandam (now there’s a problem the UK will never have) and opened up for business last month.
The fietsenpakhuis itself is aesthetically pleasing both on the outside and the inside of the building. A wooden structure of beams and columns support the building inside and it is enclosed throughout by brickwork. Huge windows on the street side of the building give passers-by an idea of what exactly the building’s main purpose is.
Inside the building itself, there is a vast open space with two floors. Both floors are littered with bicycle parking racks. An inclined staircase, that takes account of cyclists having to lift their bicycles, leads to the upper floor.
There is a high ecological footprint in the fietsenpakhuis with sustainable materials used in the building itself and this has been further enhanced with solar panels being used to generate electricity for the whole of the premises.
It is no surprise to learn that Zaandam’s local authority consulted with local cyclists and cycling groups on the build of the fietsenpakhuis. Cyclists were involved in the planning process of the building from the start.
Services on offer
This can be seen in the facilities on offer at the warehouse. The ground floor contains a bike repair workshop, a food store, lockers and washrooms. fietsenpakhuis also offers bike rental and recharging facilities for electric bicycles. It is not all about cycling at fietsenpakhuis and there are a number of limited spaces for motorcycles and scooters.
Bicycle parking is free at the fietsenpakhuis and the bikes are monitored by the facility’s employees.