Why Utretcht has much to teach Cardiff

More or less the same size as Cardiff, the Dutch regional capital Utrecht knows a thing or two that Cardiff might have learnt before it gave consent for the BBC to land-lock the site of the current bus station. Not only will Cardiff have to wait many years for a new bus station, it will be without one. The city is promised a ‘state of the art’ transport interchange. It had better note that Utretch already has one.

Utrecht Central is the main railway station (and the city is the HQ of the entire Dutch railways). It has regular electric services to all the country’s main stations, and, notably its airport. The station is being rebuilt but even so the main bus station still operates alongside together with Eurolines international bus services.

The first part of the new railway station to be completed is a cycle park for 4,200 bicycles in a secure facility the use of which is enabled by the city-wide transport system’s ‘OV-chip card’. Park your bike, jump on the train, or a bus, or a light rail tram by swiping the same card.  With a third of all trips in the city taken by bike (compared with 30% by car) and 40% of train passengers arriving at the station by bike, this new facility is much needed. Indeed, the city is planning to create over 30,000 bike parking places in the next few years.

 

Utrecht's new railway station cycle park for 4,200 bikes

Utrecht’s new railway station cycle park for 4,200 bikes

The facility opened in May 2014. In January this year the bike park logged in its one millionth user with trumpets and flowers, and a free bike service in the parks on site bike repair shop.

 

You can read much more about the way Utrecht is dealing with its traffic problems here. And Cardiff Council officers and members don’t even need to go on a study trip – just search the internet to see how Cardiff should have planned its Central Square.

Peter Cox

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