On Thursday, Belgian railway company NMBS/SNCB inaugurated a new underground bicycle parking lot at Louvain station. Federal Mobility Minister Georges Gilkinet (Ecolo) and Sophie Dutordoir, CEO of NMBS/SNCB, were present at the opening.
The new and partly guarded parking lot is an important step in the further transformation of the station and its surroundings. After all, Louvain, as a university city, is an important link for several train connections to Antwerp, Brussels Airport, Hasselt, and Liège. Every day, more than 40 000 commuters pass by.
The long-awaited bicycle parking is situated under the station’s square (Martelarenplein) and offers room for 3 700 bicycles. Together with the already existing bicycle facilities in the station’s surroundings, bike parking spaces amount to more than 10 000. The opening of the new underground parking lot will support the first and last mile to and from the station.
“Our stations have to grow into multimodal junctions where passengers can easily switch from one transport mode to another,” explained Sophie Dutordoir at the inauguration.
‘Sustainable, combined mobility’
And the additional parking places will be more than welcome in the university city. Cycling is more popular than ever, and Belgian rail intends to increase the number of passengers by 30% in the coming ten years.
“As one of Flanders’ most popular train stations, attractive parking facilities for cyclists are essential for sustainable, combined mobility,” concluded David Dessers, Louvain Alderman for Mobility.
According to the initial plans, the new parking lot should have been ready by the end of 2020, but the project was delayed several times. Now it’s finally ready. NMBS/SNCB invested 10 million euros in it.