When it's built, the newest parking garage in Stockholm won't hold any cars at all. It's designed to hold 700 bikes instead.
"The city of the future is not one built around the car as a means of transportation," says Roger Mogert, city planning commissioner for Stockholm. "This requires that we make it easier to travel by bike, and of course arranging for safe and efficient parking solutions is on step towards that goal."
The garage, near a major train station, is being designed from the ground up for cyclists. Instead of doors with handles, entrances will automatically slide open, so cyclists can ride in directly from the adjacent bike path or street. The designers also plan to include a bike repair shop and changing rooms where commuters can shower, dress for work, and leave their helmets in lockers.
Unlike a regular parking garage, it's a place where people might actually want to spend time.
"A car park requires very large surfaces for access, and ramps only used by cars," says Rahel Belatchew Lerdell, CEO of Belatchew Architects, the firm designing the garage. "The flow of people is too small to generate any other activity except just parking a car. With bicycles, on the other hand, there are great possibilities of creating possibilities for activities like bike repair shops or smaller cafes, which in turn make a neighborhood more lively and safe since there will be people around."
The garage will be part of a building that also has almost 60 apartments. None of the residents are expected to own a car. "Since the building is in the city center, next to a train station, we do not think the residents need a car for commuting," explains Lerdell. "For weekends and holidays, there will be different car-sharing solutions."
The bike garage is likely to be one of many in the future in Stockholm. "Space in Stockholm, especially in the inner city, is limited," says Mogert. "And biking and public transport is much more efficient than having people commute by car. This project will be interesting to follow and evaluate later on, hopefully it will prove to be a success and that could inspire other, similar projects to develop."
"All around the world, the trend is clear that city planners are looking for alternatives to cars since large cities are suffering from congestion and pollution," adds Lerdell. "The bicycle is one such alternative, and I am sure we will see many more bike parks in the future."