July 27, 2013

Bicycle Parking at Tokyo Station to Improve ... by 2018.

Illegal bicycle parking is a growing problem at the newly redeveloped Tokyo Station and around the Marunouchi, Otemachi and Yurakucho areas in general. A recent survey noted that some 800 bicycles are illegally parked around Tokyo Station every day. For three years in a row Tokyo Station has been in the top three stations with the worst bicycle parking problems.

Tokyo Station at night.
Photo by: Ephraim Furiel
Why the sudden increase? The Marunouchi and surrounding districts have been undergoing large changes over the last decade including an increase in the number of residential apartments, in what was until now strictly a business district.  As a result the number of people cycling to Tokyo Station has increased substantially, placing a demand on already limited bicycle parking.  Unfortunately the redevelopment of Tokyo Station did not include a corresponding increase in the number of bicycle parking spaces available for cyclists, this has resulted in bicycles being illegally parked on the already congested sidewalks around one of the busiest stations in the country.

To combat illegally parked bicycles Chiyoda-ku announced on June 17, that they would be implementing a strict bicycle parking policy around the station which gives officials the power to rapidly remove and impound illegally parked bicycles on very short notice.  Around the country illegally parked bicycles are normally tagged for removal.  A few days or weeks later crews will revisit the area and remove all tagged bicycles that remain, effectively giving their owners a grace period to remove their bicycles (or in many cases, simply remove the tag) to avoid being imounded.  The new policy announced by Chiyoda-ku allows work crews to tag bicycles and remove them as little as 1 hour later.

Chiyoda-ku also announced a plan to increase the number of bicycle parking spaces around the station to 1850 by 2018, but until then legal parking around the station will remain in short supply.

It his hard to understand how Chiyoda-ku officials could not predict an increase in demand for parking spaces around the station as the number of residential properties grew steadily over time.  It is equally difficult to understand why it will take 5 years to create 1850 bicycle parking spaces, and why they're introducing such a strict parking policy the penalise cyclists when the failure to provide parking facilities is clearly their own.

We welcome the parking, deplore the delay, and believe implementing a policy of strict parking penalties before spaces are available is utterly ridiculous.


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