After two and a half years of planning, building and testing, the largest underground parking system in the Netherlands went into operation in Amsterdam’s canal district on August 29. Since then, 270 vehicles can be parked automatically in a basement between the street Vijzelgracht and the subway below. The project will relieve the UNESCO World Heritage-listed part of the city centre from stationary traffic and create space for pedestrians, cyclists and greenery to make a more liveable city. The project was implemented by Lödige Industries on behalf of the municipality of Amsterdam and is part of its ‘Agenda Amsterdam Autoluw’, a long-term policy with the general principle of having fewer cars in the city. One of the pillars is creating and utilizing space for pedestrians, cyclists, public transport, greenery, and room to play and recreate. It is the 34th automated parking system in the Netherlands to be installed by the company, which has installed systems across Europe, Australia and North America.
The underground parking facilities will partly replace the on-street parking spaces previously used. Residents from nearby neighbourhoods receive a parking license to use the system. For this purpose, vehicles are registered in a database of the Amsterdam municipality and are identified by the system on-site via license plate recognition. Three modern entrance cabins designed by the Dutch architectural firm, Angie Abbink X CO, are available for parking or requesting a vehicle. These are the only visible signs above ground, of the parking system below and are designed to reduce its visual impact on the Amsterdam Canal District.
Vehicles up to 5m long, 2.10m high and with a maximum weight of 3.2t can be parked. Thus, the system is open to use for almost all models, including minivans. The system is capable of parking and charging up to 56 electric vehicles with an option to upgrade and charge more vehicles in the future. An EV-payment system is in planning and will enable users to charge and pay for their consumption later this year.
The basement where the parking system has been installed, is around 16 meters high, 15 metres wide and 120m long. The vehicles are parked on five levels. For this parking system, Lödige Industries uses a unique combination of proven parking technologies. By using the extremely fast horizontal transfer vehicles of the CUBILE technology and the space-saving pallet-based RESPACE technology, it is possible to achieve both the speed and the parking density required for this particular project.
In order to shift stationary traffic underground and maximise the number of vehicles parked there, an automated parking system was the only option, according to the client, the municipality of Amsterdam. As a result of a Europe-wide tender, the contract was awarded to Lödige Industries. The company proposed the best technical solution to make optimal use of the available space while ensuring fast parking processes despite the size, according to Gemeente Amsterdam.
The actual installation of the entire facility, including all systems, took about one year. To minimise the impact on the historic district and local residents during this process, a well-planned logistics concept was applied. Steel, controls and other equipment were delivered by a total of 400 trucks, with only one truck being unloaded at a time. With the help of a lift, the components were lowered via a hatch into the centre of the basement and successively assembled underground.
“With the Vijzelgracht project, we are applying our RESPACE parking technology for the first time to a large public system. So far unique in design and technology, it has the potential to become a lighthouse project for municipalities around the globe searching for solutions for stationary traffic and liveable cities,” says Arthur van Brink, director of Lödige Benelux B.V, and adds: “Despite our experience with automatic parking systems, the project was particularly challenging in terms of planning and installation. With our experienced engineers, we succeeded in developing a system that fully meets all the requirements of the municipality of Amsterdam, as well as the special on-site conditions.”
Following the assembly and commissioning, an extensive test phase took place in November 2022. Machine after machine was checked intensively, first individually and then in combination. In the spring of this year, the final tests with vehicles began in order to ensure reliable operation at the start. During these tests, as well as in the future, the system will be permanently monitored. Lödige Industries has taken on a 15-year service contract for the parking facility.
At Lödige Industries’ global customer care centre in Germany, the system is closely monitored to detect any irregularities before they become a problem. In the event of an incident, service technicians can assist at short notice. In addition, regular maintenance work is carried out at the system to ensure continuous and safe operation. “I am particularly pleased that we will remain associated with the project in the future as part of the maintenance contract and continue to ensure that vehicles are parked quickly and safely in the Vijzelgracht garage in the long term,” adds van Brink.