Rotterdam-based studio Ector Hoogstad Architects is behind the creation of the world's largest bicycle parking center. The enormous project is part of a grand scale redevelopment of the Utrecht Centraal Railway Station in the Netherlands and boasts an innovative layout that manages the flow of both pedestrians and cyclists.

The user-friendly project includes the construction of a multi-story bicycle parking hub, which caters for a world record capacity of over 12,500 bikes. The project, which started construction in 2017, is set to reach completion later this year and is an example of how cities can accommodate a growing number of cyclists.

"Historically, the Dutch have always been fervent cyclists," says Ector Hoogstad Architects. "This enthusiasm is now growing even further as cycling is being discovered as a key ingredient of the sustainable city. New bicycle typologies such as the introduction of the so-called e-bike are helping to amplify this shift in mass transportation. More and more public transport hubs will be complemented with extensive and user friendly amenities for cyclists, as increasing amounts of people begin to favor the combination of cycling and public transport over car use."

The three story bicycle parking center is located directly below the station's public square and is designed to offer cyclists convenience, speed and safety. The layout therefore allows cyclists to ride straight into the facility, with lanes weaving through the structure to accommodate a fast and fluid entry and exit in both directions.

Similar to modern car parks, a digital system will direct cyclists to available parking spots and the walls are color-coded to indicate the different routes. Uses can pay for the bike parking by scanning their public transport pass to save time and the facility will have plenty of staff on hand to assist cyclists if needed. There will also be a bike repair shop and bicycle rental outlet available.

"The building is more than just infrastructure," explains Ector Hoogstad Architects. "It adds an exciting and surprising architectural dimension to the city. Cycling through the garage has become a unique experience; not just another part of everyday life in the city, but almost an attraction in its own right."

The structure is built using concrete, steel and wood and includes three giant concrete canopies that lead the cyclists into the park. A series of large windows and glass skylights will allow natural light to filter down through the bike-park, coupled with LED lighting throughout.

The overall concept, aesthetic and usability of the facility is designed to invite more people to ride bikes as their main form of transport, reducing the city's CO2 emissions.

"The environment is one of the development's starting points: the bike-park is built to seduce more inhabitants and commuters to use bicycles and public transport instead of cars," says the firm. "This behavioral change reduces CO2 emissions by up to 95 percent. Utrecht profits in many ways: a better public space with a spectacular bike-parking and moreover space for commercial development."

The video below highlights how the bike-park will work.

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