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Public Works: Underground Bike Parking

A new Japanese underground bike parking system is safe, dry, and automated.

Public Works looks at public space, urban design, and city-building innovations from around the world, and considers what Toronto might learn from them.

Back in May, city council dismissed Ward 2 Councillor Doug Ford’s entirely rational concerns about moral turpitude and voted to build 380 underground bike parking spaces, along with a shower and change room, at City Hall. But on the other side of the planet, Japan is already decades ahead.

When not working tirelessly on anti-groping phone apps and pervert-proof panties, the talented technologists of Japan managed to develop an automated underground bike storage system that keeps your bike warm, dry, and secure while you do your stuff.

The Eco Cycle works like this: users slide the front wheels of their bikes into the mechanism, which then carries the bikes underground for storage by tame CHUDs sophisticated robotic technology. For retrieval, tap your card on the pad. (You’ll also need to attach an RFID tag to your two-wheeler to make sure that what you put in is what you get out.) Basically, it’s a giant Pez dispenser without a terrifying clown head.

The video spokesperson notes that a key benefit of the design is its way of preserving aboveground space for other uses (although the space surrounding the Eco Cycle in the video is curiously empty). He also advises that the system protects your bike from “pranksters,” or what the humourless would call “thieves and vandals.”

Each Eco Cycle unit can hold 204 bikes. The system is currently being rolled out across Japan.

Hat tip to Danny Choo.

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