Nov 3, 2023

Amsterdam combines bicycle parking with loading and unloading areas

At some 27 dedicated parking lots for loading/unloading in Amsterdam people can park their bicycle outside the loading hours of shops or catering establishments. This way, the scarce space in busy places is optimally used.

The idea for these so-called ‘dual-use locations’ arose in 2017 in the Gerard Doubuurt, an area with many shops, restaurants, homes and little public space. “This idea came from people in the neighbourhood,” says Devi van Huijstee, bicycle parking advisor at the city municipality of Amsterdam. “They told us that loading/unloading places were empty in the evenings and suggested to let bicycles and scooters be parked there in those hours.”

This idea has now been further developed and can be seen in more places in the city. Most are at loading/unloading places, but boarding points for coaches and taxis are also double used with bicycle parking.

Green is the colour for bicycle parking

It is important to introduce the scheme properly, says Van Huijstee. ‘People don’t always understand it straight away.’ Both functions (loading/unloading and bicycle parking) will have a special traffic sign showing the times at which these functions are permitted. That means quite a lot of plates.

When introducing the scheme, the municipality seeks entrepreneurs to collaborate with. These entrepreneurs are often the parties for whom suppliers come and who also benefit from customers coming by bicycle. At the start of the scheme, the entrepreneur will place a beach flag, indicating when bicycles are allowed to be parked. This is continued for several weeks until visitors get used to it.

Van Huijstee: ‘Green is the colour for bicycle parking in Amsterdam, so we have green beach flags, green signs and a green printed tile in the street. That makes it recognisable.’

Signs and tiles indicate the parking rules.

Places with peak loads

What places are suitable for this dual use? Van Huijstee: ‘It must primarily be a place with high pressure on public space and where there is not enough room for bicycle parking in the regular places.’ Van Huijstee emphasizes that all other measures to expand bicycle parking options must already have been taken. such as removing unused bikes and bike wrecks from bike parking lots.

Places with peak hours for different users at different times are particularly suitable. Van Huijstee: ‘Think of neighbourhoods with restaurants in a residential area: the loading/unloading place in front of a restaurant is used for deliveries in the morning, and guests of the restaurant only arrive after 5 p.m. With dual use, that space is be used more efficiently and there is less inconvenience in the neighbourhood.” It can also work well in the entertainment area, says Van Huijstee: “At some places there are coaches on busy hours telling visitors where not to park their bike, and directing them to places where they can, such as the dual-use places.’

Mini campaign

It is useful to designate several of these places in a neighbourhood at the same time. Van Huijstee: ‘Then you can start a mini campaign in the area. That is cost efficient and in this way the idea of dual use is introduced to more people and people understand it faster.’

Along river Amstel in the city centre some places have triple use.

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