If you build it, the Dutch will pedal

When city officials unveiled the first section of the world’s largest bike parking garage in Utrecht, a small city in the center of the Netherlands, late last month, the feeling of accomplishment was short-lived.

While many of the 6,000 new, state-of-the-art bike parking spots filled quickly, city engineers focused on the work ahead: creating thousands more such spots and hundreds more miles of bike paths to ensure that even more Utrecht residents can comfortably commute by bike.

“We found that if you build it, people will use it,” said Lot van Hooijdonk, a vice mayor, about her city’s seemingly insatiable public demand for bike infrastructure.

Utrecht, with 330,000 residents, is the Netherlands’ fourth-largest and fastest-growing city. It is also one of the most bike-friendly places in one of the world’s most bike-friendly countries.

(image: Ilvy Njiokiktjien for The New York Times)

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