Two bicycles per second
The Utrecht Central Station bicycle parking – the one that is going to be the biggest in the world – is open for about 11 months now. During the morning rush hour so many people arrive here at almost the same time, that the average number of bicycles going through the one entrance is two bicycles per second.
Two bicycles per second go through this north entrance of the – soon to be – biggest bicycle parking garage in the world at the Utrecht station.
The south part of the “largest bicycle parking garage in the world”, that has no name but “Stationsstalling” (Station bicycle parking garage), is still under construction. Originally it was to be finished by the end of this year, but judging from the building activities and knowing how things went with the other two new large facilities (the Jaarbeurspleinstalling and the Knoopstalling) I have the feeling we’ll have to wait until 2019 before the south end opens. By that time the facility will have two entrances (south and north) but so far there is only one, which makes that everybody has to arrive through that one north entrance.
The north entrance is far from finished either. The winding cycleway is temporary. The building on the right hand side will be finished in 2019. After that there will be room to finish the entrance. The cycleway will be straightened and there will also be stairs on the right of it.
The numbers are impressive, even for the partly opened facility. There are now 9,000 bicycle parking places. When I was at a cycle event recently in Utrecht one of the speakers said that in the morning rush hour the entrance has to process 2 bicycles per second. I had to see that for myself of course and so I posted at that entrance and filmed it. It looks like the speaker was not exaggerating. There are indeed very many people arriving at the same time. If you wouldn’t know better you’d think this is a busy thoroughfare, but it isn’t. All the people you see entering the facility are arriving to park their bicycle and take the train to elsewhere in the Netherlands.
The Utrecht Station Square has changed a lot. This is the square in the mid 1950s. The old station building on the right hand side. We are looking south. Picture Utrechts Archief.
In 1972 the construction of the 1970s station had started while the old building from the 1930s was still there. Picture Utrechts Archief.
By 1973 a tall office building was taking shape. The number of cars on the station square is astounding. Picture Utrechts Archief.
By 1977 the station square was finished. It was mainly a bus station with a car platform on top of it. You can see one of the two car entrance ramps on the left. The tall office building is finished and so is the brown shopping mall building on the left hand side. The 1930s station building had been demolished. The square looked like this until the light rail station was built in 1983. This car entrance ramp was replaced by a light rail platform with stairs to the upper level. Picture Utrechts Archief.
The same location has changed a lot in 2018. The light rail station has been demolished, as well as the car/taxi platform. Both will be relocated. A new building is under construction and the new roof over the elevated station square in the distance is visible. Behind it (right) the tall building from the previous picture has got a new facade of green glass. The brown mall building will get a new plinth to make street level more attractive. This will be the entrance to the station from the north.
The rendering of how things will look around 2020. This feels a lot wider than the actual picture I took in 2018. The cycleway is almost invisible here. But you can see it on the right hand side. In reality it will be more obvious in this space. Certainly with 2 bicycles per second in the morning rush hour! Picture via CU2030.
The entrance to the -soon to be- largest bicycle parking garage in the world.
In 1967, this – temporary – bicycle parking facility by the famous Utrecht architect Gerrit Rietveld, was apparently enough for the Utrecht station. How times have changed! Picture Utrechts Archief.
The south part of the cycle parking garage is still very much under construction (mid June 2018). On the left hand side clearly visible the walled-off three floors of the north part under the elevated station square that has been in use since August 2017.