Nijmegen bicycle parking facility underused

Like many cities of the Netherlands, Nijmegen suffered from a shortage of bicycle parking spaces in the central station area. That is why an extra bicycle parking facility for almost 4,000 bicycles was built. It was opened in December 2014, but it is underused; people don’t seem to find it.

The bright and colourful bicycle parking facility Doornroosje in the basement of a concert hall in Nijmegen.

The new indoor facility is open 24 hours per day, seven days of the week. It is free to use and the parked bicycles are guarded. The facility was built according to the latest standards about bicycle parking, with regards to the width of the corridors, the height of the space, the way daylight enters it and the fact that people can ride into the facility. All the individual racks have detectors which makes it possible to indicate the number of free spaces per row, but it also gives the managers the opportunity to monitor how long every bicycle was parked in a rack. This way they can detect possibly abandoned bicycles that can then be removed.

Nijmegen central station. It is clearly visible that the route to the two existing cycle parking facilities (one underground and one on ground level) is much shorter than the route to the Doornroosje facility. The red line could be a useful shortcut but that is not going to happen...
This young boy was determined to park his bicycle in the upper rack. With the help of his grandfather he succeeded.

The facility was built in the basement of ‘Doornroosje’ which is a music hall where pop bands from around the globe perform. The pop temple has existed for decades, but this new hall was only opened 2 months earlier. The entire building was designed as one multi-purpose building. On top of the pop music hall there are also 350 student housing units. Visitors of the concerts and residents of the student housing units can also park their bicycles in the new facility.

Parking your bicycle in a work of art. It is possible in Nijmegen!

The facility is very brightly coloured. The colour scheme on the walls, pillars and floor is actually a work of art named “Talia” that was designed by artist Jan van der Ploeg (Amsterdam 1959). Another of his works is the wall painting in the museum Boijmans van Beuningen in Rotterdam.

It was very clear that the top racks were almost not used.

With the opening of this facility the total number of racks around Nijmegen central station reached 10,000.


After about one month the local newspaper reported that there was something special about this facility. Even though the other racks around Nijmegen station were always full to over capacity, strangely this facility remained empty. At some times it was only filled for about one quarter.

In the back of the facility there were no bicycles at all. The facility is only used for about a quarter of its capacity. Highly unusual in The Netherlands!

When the reporters asked people desperately searching for a free spot for their bicycles in the other racks, they got a lot of surprised looks. Not many people seemed to know about the new facility. The entrance is a bit hidden even though it is directly near the entrance ramps of the Snelbinder bridge. The city of Nijmegen did all it could to get more people to use the facility. They put up banners – that were first stolen and then replaced – and they even handed out free concert tickets to attract more people.

The walk routes to the existing cycle parking locations (one underground and one on ground level) are much shorter than to the new Doornroosje cycle parking facility. In red a shortcut that would would give a much shorter route to platform 1a, but that is not going to be opened.

It may be a matter of time. It may also be that the facility is just a bit too far from the entrance of the station. It is not far from the platforms, it is actually right next to one of them. I noticed that when I was waiting for the train in Nijmegen one day, but you have to walk across the entire square and then back again inside the station. Just opening a gate to get a shortcut would already make this facility a lot more attractive to a lot of people leaving from platform 1a. But then these travellers don’t go past the station hall facilities so the Railways risk fewer sales to these people. That is considered a problem. But ProRail also paid 2.5 million Euro to build this parking facility. So they may want to see it become successful. The now dissolved city-region Arnhem-Nijmegen contributed another 1.5 million Euro.

My video showing the Doornroosje bicycle parking facility in Nijmegen

People do usually need some time to change their habits. So I am sure that the new facility will eventually be found and used by more people. That 1,500 temporary outside racks near the station have been removed recently will already make a difference.

5 thoughts on “Nijmegen bicycle parking facility underused

  1. Free advice for the city council: For a couple of months, consistently remove all illegally parked bicycles in the neighborhood, and park them here. Place some ‘Fiets kwijt? -> Doornroosje’ signs, and you’ll get the attention you need.

  2. Since I’ve been back in Utrecht, I make use of the many free guarded indoor parking facilities in the city centre. I have a favorite spot in the one under the stairs at the Jaarbeurs which is not too far to walk if I get a train.
    I wonder if, had I been living here and developed my own habits over the years if I’d bother with this new thing of using large garage style parking instead of just parking as humanly close to where I want to be as possible.
    It’s very similar to parking garages, and like getting people to not park there cars right on the street and maybe walk a bit further, the same goes for bikes.
    It does make the pavements less cluttered with parked bikes.
    I remember the days when pretty much anywhere round central station in Utrecht was fair game to park your bike, there were bikes and wrecks of bikes everywhere, junky bike theif paradise!
    The idea of parking a bit further away but safely, is catching on, but there are still many who think in terms of keeping an old bike outside the station – sounds like a waste of space and when you need it, you can guarantee the tyres would be flat – making use of an OV fiets makes much more sense.
    Times have changed in the last decade as to how people use and abuse their bikes. I guess the concept of thousands of lovely guarded free spaces has to have a catch – you have a bit further to walk!

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