Public space is often still too much based on the principle of the car and that needs to change.
Alderman for Sustainability and Mobility of the municipality of Zeist is convinced of this. “If we want to entice our residents to cycle or take public transport more often, we also have to offer them enough facilities.” And so Zeist is the first municipality in the Netherlands to place 268 racks of the new innovative circular bicycle parking system AXLE at ten bus stops. This means more than doubling the current number of available places.
A lot has changed in the range of bicycles and they also notice this in Zeist. “There are bicycles with wide handlebars, fat tires, crate bicycles and, of course, electric bicycles,” notes alderman Catsburg. “They no longer fit in the traditional bicycle racks. This not only creates a messy street scene, but it is also not a safe and comfortable way to park your bicycle. If you want to make it easy for your residents, you shouldn’t place five bicycle racks in a place where forty people get on every day. This was also evident from an inventory of all bus stops. If we identify certain needs among our residents, we get to work. Not with lofty plans, but with achievable goals. In some places we have purchased land for this purpose. The new system takes up a little more space, but this is offset by a higher occupancy.”
That the Fietsparkeur certified AXLE bicycle parking system from STREET-STUFF! is new on the market, does not constitute an obstacle for the alderman to purchase. “We are open to innovation and these bicycle racks are not only functional, but also sustainable and circular. Our municipal yard will soon only have some parts in stock and no complete bicycle racks. Moreover, no excavators are required to place the system. Many issues can thus be solved by one type of bicycle rack that can be recycled if it ever comes to the end of its lifespan. And of course, innovations cost money, but our city council is also convinced of the importance of investing in sustainability. And the Province of Utrecht also deserves a podium, because they have helped us enormously – also financially – with the realization of sustainable projects. Incidentally, I also see a great deal of intrinsic motivation for this theme among our employees.”
The whole picture is correct
Michiel van Esch, traffic engineer for the municipality of Zeist and, like his alderman, a proponent of cycling, explains how he was immediately attracted by the visual aspect of the AXLE bicycle parking system at the Public Space trade fair. “And then the whole picture from the production process to circularity turned out to be correct. During the tender process, where price and quality are important components, this system was ultimately chosen. We purchased the Tulip bicycle rack from designer Ton Kooymans years ago. That is still fine for traditional bicycles and that is why we reuse them in other places. I also like the flexibility. For example, the foreman of our field service said during the opening of the new bicycle parking facilities that he thought it was a wonderful demountable system, but that he missed the anti-theft screws. They were then used. In one of our shopping streets we want to remove all existing bicycle racks and replace them with new ones. A test setup has now been installed there with variants of the new system.”
Alderman Catsburg also emphasizes that when making plans and making decisions about public space, not only civil servants, but also residents are challenged to express their opinion and put forward suggestions. To give trust is to gain trust. “I started my period with a mobility bottleneck list, which was made by our residents.” Proud: “We tackled and resolved all points together. I just want the best for Zeist and that is why this new bicycle parking system also gives me a big smile.”