Temporary bike racks at Montessori building: ‘It became a safety hazard’

23 Sep 2022

While some bike racks on campus are almost always empty, the university placed several additional bike racks near the Maria Montessori building. The building’s basement storage became so full that emergency exits were blocked.

The lawn behind the Montessori building, finally turning green thanks to a few weeks’ worth of rain, has been serving as bike storage space since the beginning of the week. Yesterday, the university placed additional bike racks to alleviate some of the pressure on the basement spaces.

Emergency solution

‘It’s an emergency solution’, according to Ferry Soetekouw of the Campus and Facilities department. ‘Because students were placing their bikes in the walkways, it became a safety hazard; the emergency exits were blocked.’

Photo: Johannes Fiebig

But a glance at the basement shows that there are plenty of spaces left. Like the bike storage of Nijmegen Central Station, the basement storage space has two-tiered bike racks. However, the top-tier racks of the Montessori building see very little use. ‘Not everyone is physically able to lift their bikes’, Soetekouw says.

Several other places on campus also have more than enough storage space available. The university has been using signage to encourage people to store their bikes at the nearby Lecture Hall Complex (CC), but Soetekouw doesn’t think much will come of it. ‘It is very difficult to convince people to park their bike elsewhere; they want to store it as close to their destination as possible.’

Growing pains

Esther Huijs, housing employee of the Faculty of Social Sciences, points out that the Montessori building has only been in full use since the start of this academic year. ‘The building was opened in the middle of corona. It’s not so strange that we’re having a few growing pains now.’

It’s also usually the case that the campus is busiest at the beginning of the year. On top of that, faculties are trying to get students to come to campus as much as possible. It is expected that the crowds will thin over the course of the year, and the racks can be stowed.

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