Japanese underground bike bunkers

By Andrew Crumpler

Space is tight in Japan, so much that they’ve even engineered a watermelon to grow in the shape of a square to store it more efficiently. A similar conundrum confounds the typical Japanese commuter traveling to work using a combination of biking and trains. Unfortunately, these commuters face a daily challenge of how and where to store their bikes once they arrive at the train station.

The large number of bikes needing a resting place whilst their owners jet off to work for the day creates a rather cluttered view along surrounding sidewalks. Even along sidewalks where no bike parking is posted, you find hundred of bicycles lining the streets.

This is the typical sight outside/inside a Japanese train station. A culture known for its strict adherence to rules and procedures outwardly disregards signs warning cyclist not to park their bikes.

To solve this problem the Japanese has figured out a pretty neat solution. Imagine a vending machine underground; however, instead of getting your favorite treat out of it you put in your bicycle into it and the robotic system swiftly transports your ride to a resting spot for the day. All you see above ground is the elevator style door and kiosk where you check your bike in/out. According to the video, it appears that the typical customer will have to wait less than 30 seconds to retrieve their bike.

Wouldn’t it be cool if we had this problem in the United States?

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