Parking facilities for bicycles in the city centre
Utrecht is a true cycling city. Parking one’s bike in the city centre becomes more and more of a problem. As the city expands, Utrecht is developing a plan to offer sufficient bicycle parking spots in the city centre.
Implementing sustainable mobility
Utrecht is characterised by bikes. Wherever one goes, the bike is a popular choice to get there. The city wants to maintain cycling as a popular choice for short trips and increase cycling for trips of up to 7.5 km in the city centre. There is however a shortage of places where people can leave their bike already. With the growth of the city, especially with the development of the Leidsche Rijn area that is projected to attract 90,000 new residents, and the redevelopment of the area around the central station, Utrecht does not want to let a lack of parking spots discourage people from cycling. That is why the city is taking a close look at parking facilities for bikes in the city centre.
The goal of this measure is to:
• Encourage longer cycling trips of up to 7.5 km through the provision of new bike parking facilities for 3,500 bikes.
If people are to move around the city by bike, a sufficient number of parking spots need to be available and different options need to be offered to meet people’s varying needs. The city is working on an integrated action plan for bicycle parking in the city centre for different target groups. Some cyclists are happy to leave their bike unguarded, while others prefer to know their bike guarded to prevent loss or damage. Utrecht aims to create new guarded parking facilities for 2,950 bikes and unguarded facilities for 435 bikes. Facilities for carrier cycles will be created and improved, as well.
The city is targeting potential bicycle users with this measure, meaning all citizens and commuters that are travelling to the city centre. Other stakeholders that the city will involve include local and regional authorities, visitors, interest groups such as the Chamber of Commerce and cyclists groups, environmental organisations, the tourism sector, neighbouring municipalities, shopkeepers and companies.
The evaluation of this measure was conducted by measuring the number of different kind of bicycle parking places and the average percentage of Utrecht residents that go to the city centre by bike. Thereby, three positive key results of the measure came out from the evaluation. First, the measure did not contribute to add extra guarded parking places compared to the initial situation but prevented a decrease of 500 guarded parking places. Secondly, the measure added 438 extra parking places in the public area. This is an increase of 9% compared to the business-as-usual scenario. Thirdly, during the CIVITAS MIMOSA period the percentage of Utrecht residents that usually go to the city centre by bike grew by 4% from 51% to 55%.
The final contribution of the implemented measures to the wider envisaged change in the modal split towards cycling in Utrecht is at this stage unknown, the Action Plan is still running for another year and other stimulation programmes have also yet to finish. The link between the modal split (bicycle usage) and the availability of parking places is also difficult to make. It is clear (also from other research) that safe parking for bicycles (to prevent stealing) is a precondition.
The key results are as follows:
• Prevented decrease in available guarded parking space- The measure didn’t add extra guarded parking places compared to the initial situation but prevented a decrease of 500 parking places.
• Extra parking places in public area- The measure added 438 extra parking places in the public area. This is an increase of 9% compared to business-as-usual.
• Growth of bicycle use- During the CIVITAS MIMOSA period the percentage of Utrecht residents that usually cycle to the city centre grew by 4% from 51% to 55%.
The final contribution of the implemented measures to the wider envisaged change of the modal split of cycling in Utrecht remains unknown at this stage, the Action Plan is still running for another year and other stimulation programmes have also yet to finish.
Although the CIVITAS MIMOSA period ends, the Utrecht city bicycle parking action plan is continuing in 2013. One guarded parking facility is opened in 2013 (Vredenburg) and measures to change existing racks into more efficient ones will continue. Also the portable parking places will stay in use and standard capacity in all three locations will be increased.
Besides this the shortage of bicycle parking places in Utrecht is now securely within the public interest and will likely remain there in the future and therefore the activities of this measure will also remain topical.