Saturday, July 30, 2011

My kind of parking ramp

Check out this picture, courtesy of Free Press photographer Wright Braudt:
That is a shot of a bike parking ramp near Central Station in Amsterdam. It's considered to be a safe location for cyclists to park their bikes, as thefts are widespread in the city. According to, the ramp holds roughly 7,000 bikes.

The fact that Amsterdam has a bike parking ramp shouldn't come as a HUGE surprise. After all, the "Venice of the North" is rated as one of the most bicycle-friendly cities in the world. More than 30 percent of Amsterdam's traffic volume is on bicycles and according to Wikipedia (not a credible journalism site, but still), the city has more than 400 kilometers (roughly 248 miles) of bike trails.

Still, it's pretty awesome to see the lengths of which Amsterdam has gone to establish cycling as a viable -- and preferred -- form of transportation.

Comparing Amsterdam to U.S. cities, roughly 4 percent of the traffic in Portland -- considered by many to be the bike capital of America -- is cycling-related.

That's not to say that cycling isn't popular in the U.S. Bike ownership is rising rapidly in the states and even a modestly-sized city like Mankato has four bike shops within 15 miles of the downtown area.

However, cycling is more of a recreational activity here. Very few people use their bikes to run errands or commute to work like they do in Amsterdam.

Can you imagine a bike traffic jam occurring anywhere in the U.S. unless it's a group ride like RAGBRAI? Can you also imagine a U.S. city forking over the money to build a parking ramp strictly for bikes?

Neither can I.


  1. Out of curosity, about how many cars would fit in that bike ramp and is their a monitary charge to park there? It seems like a great use of space, and green besides!

  2. This weekend is state #30 and the destination is Oregon for the Portland Triathlon.
    triathlon forum