With the worlds ever growing population, major cities are becoming more and more congested everyday. Parking towers are one of the solutions for the commuters and citizens of these congested metropolises. Originally, the idea was meant for motor vehicles but recently with rising fuel costs and the effects of combustion fuel engines on the environment, the number of cyclists has steadily been increasing over the years. That is why bicycle parking towers are becoming more common around the globe.
The most recent example is the installation of an automated bicycle parking tower by the Czech bicycle importer, Velo. The importer co-funded the installation of the tower near a railway station in the city of Hradec Kralove. The tower consists of 7 tiers and is capable of holding 117 units. The retrieval time of one unit is approximately 30 seconds. The tower consists of a centralized unit with padded aluminium paddles which act as human hands holding the front tire of the bike. This central unit is capable of rotating 360o and moving vertically up and down across all 7 tiers. The parking bay is capable of holding a bike along with all its accessories including a helmet hanging on the handle bar.
This tower is not the first of its kind. There are many examples of bike parking towers in Asia, where the population contributes to the greatest percentage of the entire planets Traffic. In Tokyo, there have been two underground silos operational since 2008 with a capacity of 144 bikes each. The main problems with the automated parking tower system is the retrieval time which discourages users. The cost of the system itself is also much greater than that of a conventional high density parking system. Despite these chinks in its armor, the bike tower is still an idea in the right direction.
The Automated Parking Tower
A view of the Hradec Kralove train station
The parking tower in winter
Inside the robotic tower
Bike entry point
A cyclist entering his bicycle into the system
An inside look of the parking bays
An example of the parking silos in Tokyo