The league of Dutch cities with a huge underground bicycle parking facility near their main train stations has grown again. Maastricht opened the latest bike parking garage on the first day of 2018. It has room to park 3,000 bicycles, 5.5 metres under the station square. It is guarded, has a repair service and parking your bicycle is free for the first 24 hours.
At 6:50 in the morning on New Year’s Day, the first bicycles could be parked in the brand new bicycle parking garage directly under the station square of Maastricht (population 123,000). A huge modern canopy covers the entrance. Two 30-metre-long travelators (one going down and one going up) give an easy access to the parking garage at 5.5 metres below the surface. The purpose of this garage was to increase the amount of available bicycle parking racks. A second aim was give the station area a “quality impulse”. In other words, to get the sea of bicycles, that were parked in front of the station up to now, out of sight. Few other structures give away that this underground parking facility exists. There is a staircase for access by foot and finally a round stone bench has appeared with a glass plate in the centre. That glass plate is actually a sky light that floods the underground structure with natural light.
There is room to park 3,000 bicycles in two tier racks, the type that you can find all over the Netherlands, with a hydraulic system that assists people using the upper rack. That total number also includes 100 rental bicycles of the OV-Fiets scheme and the special places for bicycles of types that wouldn’t fit in a rack. There is room for 80 such “extraordinary bicycles”; cargo bikes, tandems, bicycles with baskets or the heavy e-bikes. The Maastricht facility has a completely separated room for 40 mopeds or scooters, which is not something you often see in other facilities. It is good that the smelly machines are kept behind closed glass doors.