Bicycles Paralyze Big City Traffic

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In the big cities, especially in the areas around the railway stations, the traffic to and from the stations is often paralyzed because there are not enough parking spots for bicycles, which block the pedestrian areas and parts of the roads.

An article published on Monday in the daily journal Trouw says that in large cities with more than 100,000 inhabitants, cycling traffic is growing by 1.5 to 3 percent each year. For Rotterdam, this annual growth is 5 percent.

According to the Amsterdam Alderman for Traffic, Eric Wiebes, the shortage of bicycle parking spots is threatening the reachability of the stations. He continues, “Amsterdam is a bicycle-friendly city and we have to keep it that way. Everyday Amsterdam citizens ride 2 million kilometers. That’s 40 percent more than 20 years ago. It is a blessing for the city because if the citizens would make the same trips by car, it would cost 20 million euro extra per year for making and maintaining roads. To guarantee a good air quality would cost an extra 50 million euro. So we can’t just solve the problem by making biking forbidden.”

“It’s the same for Utrecht,” says Wim Bot of the Bicycle Society. “The risk is that people are going to take a car again to reach outer city destinations because they can't easily reach the station because of the chaos caused by parked bicycles.” His colleague from their branch in Amsterdam, Michel Post, adds, “Parked cars would be a bigger problem since one car occupies the space of ten bicycles.”

The situation around the railway stations in the big cities is becoming uncontrollable, especially in the cities with many students. The four largest cities have agreed on a plan to create more parking lots for bicycles.

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