atelier

EURA

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PILES OF BIKES

" I always find fascinating how the press can create news out of nothing or focused on negatives in order to dissuade public opinion from something with implications that are seeing as costly. 

 

Cycling is good : It gets us moving by building exercise in our day without the need for a gym, makes us embrace the cities we live in by truly experiencing them from the ground and make irresponsible drivers think twice when considering to take the centre of town as though they were in the M25. (Worth noting that this is also beneficial to pedestrians and other drivers) 

 

Then of course there are even more obvious benefits: it does not pollute , it is a rather affordable / democratic method to achieve mobility and it is quicker than dealing with traffic in the main roads. When it comes to bike parking though, we have a problem. 

 

The problem being that , in most cities, mass cycling is a relatively new phenomenon and there are no strategies in place to address it. 

 

But is this a problem, or an opportunity? I do think that the current misalignment between offer and demand is caused by a simple misunderstanding of the perceived lack of economical benefit that facilitating spaces brings to the provider … That and the perceived (small) pool of customers (cyclists) which one would be catering for. 

 

As an architect , looking at how people live and thinking of improvements is what I do. As a cyclist in London, the practicalities of not finding a place to park my bike are not the best part of my days and therefore other countries’ approaches always interest me. 

 

So far, the best solution that I have seen is in Tokyo where many people cycle. 

 

Tokyo is made out of a super dense centre where people (mostly men) go to work every day, and a network of stations in the satellite towns where they live. Those towns are extensive and it could take you quite a while to go from the station to your home after a long day at work. Hence, many people cycle. 

 

Outside stations, the railway companies (JR or others) provide parking areas for their customers (the commuters are indeed their customers) to continue to choose them. In some towns ,where the station is large enough, the parking area could even be located at the station itself. 

 

Another type of cyclist are the moms and housewives who work at home taking care of their family , take kids to school and who shop fresh produce every day. Bikes provide them with independence and transport. Shopping centres , department stores and even mini markets generally offer an area for customers to park their bikes as way to encourage footfall. 

 

It is generally in the basement of the building and has a variety of forms… from a low key room like arrangement to a more sophisticated double stack. This is a practical solution that not only helps the stored but the high street through the ripple effect. 

 

As the impact of our sedentary lives becomes evident and our online shopping habits have driven us away from the high street, convenience could be the tool to both increase footfall and solve the bike parking problem."

 

(From atelier EURA's scrapbook on ScoopIT , here, commenting on this BBC article )

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