Confronting Amsterdam's Parking Problem
According to Geere, with 200,000 official bicycle parking spots, the city's supply of spaces falls woefully short of accomodating the 300,000 bikes that can be found in public spaces at any one time.
Engineers at the IBA, the Amsterdam department of engineering, think they've developed a way to help fill this shortfall with a series of "automatic hangers mounted on the city's roofs." A company called Velominck, which has been building underground bike parking garages in the city since 2005, seems to be willing to try them out.
"Here's how it'd work. When you arrive at your destination, you find a Velominck station and swipe a transport card a little like one of London's Oyster cards against a terminal so it knows who you are. A door opens, and you clip your bike into a robotic arm, which then pulls it up a transparent elevator to the roof. It can then be safely stored there until the owner returns and swipes the card again -- which summons the bike down from the rooftop."
With completion of the first autmoated rooftop parking system expected to take five years to complete, "the IBA is working on ways to improve the efficiency of existing bike storage facilities," in the meantime.