Kanagawa Ward, Yokohama City
Large commercial facility, Higashi-Kanagawa SATY
Approximately 800 bicycles and motorcycles were abandoned in the open space around Higashi-Kanagawa SATY in front of JR Higashi-Kanagawa Station. Since they were abandoned in the "open space", neither land owner, Higashi-Kanagawa SATY nor the government could take effective measures for those bicycles left there. However, both Higashi-Kanagawa SATY and community residents called for measures for abandoned bicycles and the government took the plunge and revised the system to meet their request. In cooperation with public and private sectors, what measures for abandoned bicycles in the open space were taken?
Approximately 800 bicycles and motorcycles were abandoned in the open space around Higashi-Kanagawa SATY in front of JR Higashi-Kanagawa Station. In addition to users of Higashi-Kanagawa SATY, many users of the station parked bicycles and motorcycles there because it is conveniently located in front of the station. Therefore, they blocked the passage of users of the station, facility and the public hall in the neighborhood, leading to an expectation that they would adversely affect safe haven and access of emergency vehicles in disaster situations.
To put it simply, "an open space" is the space provided around a building. Based on the effective area of the open space, extra floor area ratio is permitted and building height restriction may be eased. It is not permitted to fence off or build a permanent structure on the space, so that it provides access to the public and pedestrians can walk freely. Because of these restrictions, Higashi-Kanagawa SATY, manager of the open space could not take effective measures such as construction of a bicycle parking facility. However, because it was private land, the government could not remove abandoned bicycles. For these reasons, the number of abandoned bicycles continued to increase.
Higashi-Kanagawa SATY and community residents continued to discuss in order to seek solutions to the abandoned bicycles in the "public open space". However, a clue to resolving the problem could not be found with only the power of the private sector. Therefore, they approached the local government to proactively handle the problem. The effort bore fruit and Yokohama City revised "Yokohama City's Environmental Design System for Urban Districts" in April 2006 and "it became possible to approve a public bicycle parking lot in an open space if certain conditions are met, for example, illegal bicycle parking occurs frequently". Thus, Higashi-Kanagawa SATY was able to proactively address the bicycle parking problem and consulted with NCD. NCD has experience with successful operation of bicycle parking lots in other stores of SATY. Because of a proven track record, NCD was charged with the bicycle parking lot in the open space in Higashi-Kanagawa SATY.
Since the bicycle parking lot is built in an open space, NCD designed it after carefully considering restrictions such as "Provide passage space for pedestrians", "Provide land for fire fighting operation" and "Consider passage of emergency vehicles". NCD also gave consideration to the landscape around SATY and placed bicycle parking machines by making the most of original design such as the curve of a staircase in the open space. In addition, since there is also a restriction for maintaining green space in an open space, NCD placed many planters to provide planting. NCD proceeded with the project from design to construction after having a thorough discussion with Higashi-Kanagawa SATY and the government. Expertise in installing EcoStation21 resulted in gaining the trust of both parties and produced easy-to-use, convenient bicycle parking lots despite the many restrictions.
This example presented a case where the problem of abandoned bicycles can be solved even on land with the designation of "open space". As a result, the number of abandoned bicycles was reduced drastically and the space could fulfill its primary role of an open space such as "Provide passage space for pedestrians" and "Provide land for fire fighting operation". To solve the problem of an open space, cooperation between the local government and land owner is essential. In the case of Higashi-Kanagawa SATY, NCD's EcoStation21 that has solved many bicycle parking problems helped the local government and land owner solve the problem by proposing the most desirable design and construction in response to their needs.We hope NCD's EcoStation21 system is of some help for owners of an open space who suffer from a bicycle parking problem.