Amsterdam’s new underwater parking garage is pretty unusual.
It’s situated in the heart of the city, but this prime location isn’t for cars
Instead, it’s made especially for bicycles, and it can fit an impressive amount inside.
Amsterdam has a reputation for having a lot of bicycles, roughly 881,000.
This means there are actually more bikes than people in the city.
Their government has been encouraging residents to opt to cycle rather than drive since the 1970s.
As a result, 35% of people cycle to work while many others partake in a car-sharing service.
While this is a great step towards carbon neutrality, it has its issues.
The sidewalks of Amsterdam are full of parked bikes, with some too busy to even walk on anymore.
Now, parking lots designed just for bicycles are on the rise.
Construction on this underwater parking garage began in 2019, which involved completely draining the canal in front of Centraal Station.
Next the garage floor was laid and the columns were installed.
Once finished, the entire building was submerged, with boats free to float on top of the now-hidden garage.
When entering the parking lot, a chip on your bike is detected to automatically check you in.
Completely underground, the garage is white and futuristic looking.
The modern curved columns display a green or red light to indicate free parking spots.
Even though there is space for 7,000 bikes, the garage can easily reach full capacity.
To make it easier for people to go carless, the city is trying to make other transport options as seamless as possible.
“Data from Amsterdam and the Netherlands’ urban region shows that there is far more to reducing car trips than just focusing on bicycles,” Meredith Glaser, executive director of the Urban Cycling Institute, says.
“To reduce car dependency, you need bikes plus a high-capacity, high-efficiency, high-frequency public transit system.”
Once parked, cyclists can easily hop into the elevator which will lead them to the train or the tram.
The cost is even more encouraging: parking here for 24 hours is free, costing $1.46 a day after that.
With these rates, it might take a while to pay off the $65 million it cost to build the garage.