The city of Chengdu in southwestern China may have found a solution for keeping its sidewalks tidy and free of shared bike clutter. The so-called “underground intelligent bike parking system” located in downtown Chengdu near the entrance of Niushikou Station will go into service by the end of the month, according to the municipal traffic commission.
According to local media reports, the shared bike-only parking garage, which takes up only 6.8 square meters on the ground level, is connected to a 50 square-meter vault 9.6-meter deep into the ground. The eight-story parking facility has a capacity to store 224 bikes—the number of bicycles that usually takes up 300 square meters of space.
Users can order or store a bike via an LED screen. The whole process is automated and takes less than a minute. Tianjin Yuanzhuo Tech Development, the designer of the parking system, claimed that it takes only half a yuan (around $0.01) worth of electricity to store and fetch a bike.
Ever since China bike sharing industry took off last year, brightly colored bikes have plagued sidewalks and streets across Chinese cities, becoming an urban management nightmare by causing traffic jams and parking difficulties.
The city of Chengdu reported having over 1.8 million bikes (in Chinese) in August. In October, the city cleaned up more than 126,000 bikes over a five-day period.
Other cities in China have also been trying to manage and regulate the oversupply of shared-bikes. In August, the Beijing Commission of Transport decided to cap the number of shared bikes in the city to 1.91 million.