Smart and innovative

Pilot pop-up bicycle sheds a great success!

Published on July 10, 2024

Is there an 'extended due to success' coming? The Eindhoven pilot with pop-up bicycle sheds during peak times is going well. Joost Beenker from the municipality of Eindhoven and designer Jasper Bloem are closely involved. We ask them about the why, how and the future of this project.

They have been appearing and disappearing rapidly in the city center of Eindhoven since mid-June: pop-up bicycle sheds. Why?

Joost: 'Visits to the city center are increasing and more people are cycling. This puts considerable pressure on bicycle parking capacity. We know from research that there are structurally too few bicycle parking spaces and that there is an additional challenge when it is extra busy in the city. For example, on the weekend or during events. For the structural task, we are working hard on indoor solutions in particular: covered and managed bicycle sheds. We do not want parking facilities that take up space in public spaces during peak times. This must also remain available for greenery, water, walkers, you name it. On the one hand, we can do this by using space more intelligently. For example, parking spaces at office buildings that are not used during the weekend. But more is needed. That is why we are now testing the pop-up shed in a first round of five weeks. In the city, but also at events. Like recently at the Van Moll Fest. '

The stables look beautiful! Who took care of that?

Jasper: 'As a designer I solve spatial problems by building installations, interiors, systems or productions. We were asked by Soeps Creative Collective to collaborate on this project. Soeps has developed the Hospitable and Sustainable Eindhoven strategy together with Jan Waalen from Brainport Bereikbaar. We immediately liked the challenge of the pop-up bicycle shed. The requirements were clear: it had to be future-proof, scalable, able to be deployed in different places, easy to assemble and disassemble and be a good carrier for all kinds of communication tools. Ultimately, we took care of the development and production of the pop-up sheds and all surrounding activities. Completely in the style of Open Eindhoven, the Hospitable and Sustainable Accessible campaign has also been embraced.'

What were the biggest challenges in developing the pop-up sheds?

Jasper: 'People are used to securing their bicycles to objects. They also do this with the pop-up shed. But if they leave the bicycle behind, you have to sharpen the lock and that is not allowed just like that. We designed it in such a way that all connecting pieces can be separated from each other. So we can always 'liberate' a bicycle. Another challenge was that the system had to be able to be phased out in the city. But you don't want to go there with a truck. It must therefore be able to be transported with a cart and be easy to set up. In other words: lightweight materials, not too many parts, not too heavy. I have therefore been looking for light but sturdy solutions. That seems to have worked: the system works very well. It is set up and taken down by a team of Cycling Coaches. They also provide guidance, hold interviews and encourage people to use the parking facility.'

So they are much more than just stables?

Jasper: 'Certainly. For example, it is also a research project. We have measured polls in fun ways that provide interesting data and valuable comments. It is also a great way to draw extra attention to and encourage cycling. You can add signs and flags with messages anywhere on the system. We do this in a very positive way: 'It's good that you came by bike', for example. There are also more fun things such as the Wheel of Fortune. If you have positioned your bike correctly, you can spin and win funny Eindhoven merchandise. The possibilities are endless. Finally, Eindhoven has its own system that is completely tailored to this idiosyncratic city. It makes the municipality visible in a very positive way, also at events.'

What do you think of the pilot so far?

Joost: 'The pop-up stall works great, they are used very well. And we receive many positive reactions, also from entrepreneurs in the city center. This confirms that we really need that extra capacity. The parking facilities allow people to park their bicycles more neatly. This ensures a cleaner, more pleasant street scene and prevents nuisance. It is also safer: security services are not held up. We try to send people to the bicycle sheds even more through the bicycle coaches and communications.' Jasper: 'We notice that people really like this gesture towards cycling. The bicycle is a key player in our mobility. It's good that Eindhoven facilitates this in such a fun, playful way.'

What is the plan for the sequel?

Joost: 'We are looking at how we want to extend and scale up to other locations. We have learned a lot recently and we will include that in the concept development. After the summer holidays we may want to offer test setups again. Ultimately, we hope to be able to use the pop-up sheds in many places. For those curious about what it looks like: the pop-up bicycle shed can also be admired during the Brainport Mobility Xperience on September 4.'

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