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This city opened a futuristic, 7,000-spot parking garage underwater — but no car will ever park there

"Giving off serious 2001: A Space Odyssey vibes."

Centraal Station Amsterdam bike parking

Photo Credit: Theverge

Amsterdam recently introduced a new parking garage with a twist: It will never welcome a single car. That's because it's devoted exclusively to bicycles — up to 7,000 of them.

Work on this $65 million underwater structure at the city's Centraal Station began in 2019 with the garage officially opening in late January. According to The Verge, parking is free for the first 24 hours, and then it's about $1.46 a day after that.

Massive bike parking garages are popping up more and more in the Netherlands, especially near transit stations. The largest, which can hold 12,000 bikes, is located in the country's fourth-biggest city, Utrecht. This is all part of an effort to reduce car usage by fortifying seamless connections between rail transit and cycling infrastructure.

"Data from Amsterdam and the Netherlands' urban region shows that there is far more to reducing car trips than just focusing on bicycles," Meredith Glaser, executive director of the Urban Cycling Institute, told Bloomberg. "To reduce car dependency, you need bikes plus a high-capacity, high-efficiency, high-frequency public transit system."

Cycling boasts a number of health benefits including increased cardiovascular fitness and muscle strength, decreased stress levels, improved posture and coordination, and decreased body fat levels. It can also help ward off some cancers, along with depression, arthritis, heart attacks, and strokes.

As more and more people join in on the bicycle revolution, it will help to eliminate traffic and congestion problems in urban areas because bicycles take up less space. Bikes are also much quieter than cars, and cycling in lieu of driving a motor vehicle can help create more tranquil neighborhoods.

Plus, riding a bicycle is far better for the environment because it does not require gas to go — just feet to pedal. And no gas equals no pollution. 

According to UCLA, a moderate increase in bicycle use could avoid 6 to 14 million tons of planet-warming air pollution annually. Cycling also helps eliminate the number of harmful chemicals used by cars such as antifreeze. 

Plus, more bikes equates to fewer roads needing to be built, which is another huge win for the environment. When it rains, water runoff from roads and highways contributes to ground and water pollution by carrying contaminants to nearby streams, rivers, lakes, and soil.

Before the opening of its new bike garage, Amsterdam released a time-lapse video of the four-year project.

Followers were excited, with one saying, "Super cool! I live around the corner and I am thrilled to see the work being completed! Looking forward to the better flow of traffic and no more muddy feet:) Great job guys, looks super impressive. What a masterplan."

Thomas Ricker was one of the garage's first customers and called it an "engineering wonder" in his article for The Verge.

"At least for now, the new underwater parking structure I toured is immaculate, giving off serious '2001: A Space Odyssey' vibes," he said.

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