How Many Bikes is Too Many?

Is it possible for a city to have too many bikes? In Amsterdam, a city known as much for its cycling culture as for its canals, the battle for street space and parking spaces has some residents pondering whether there are too many bikes.
June 21, 2013, 10am PDT | Jonathan Nettler | @nettsj
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"While cities like New York struggle to get people onto bikes, Amsterdam is trying to keep its hordes of bikes under control," reports John Tagliabue. "In a city of 800,000, there are 880,000 bicycles, the government estimates, four times the number of cars. In the past two decades, travel by bike has grown by 40 percent so that now about 32 percent of all trips within the city are by bike, compared with 22 percent by car."

The primary problem in Amsterdam seems to have less to do with congestion and more to do with where to store your bike once you reach your destination. 

“There are too many bikes,” said Michèl Post, an official with the Fietsersbond, or Cyclists’ Union. “At train stations, shopping malls, in residential areas, everywhere there are more bikes than bike racks.”

“When you look at the large squares, on a Friday night the place is completely covered with bikes,” he went on. “There is also a question of aesthetic values.”

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Published on Thursday, June 20, 2013 in The New York Times
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