December 4, 2013 9:27 am
Updated: December 5, 2013 6:27 pm

A closer look inside Tokyo’s underground bicycle parking

Bicycles are stacked on top of each other inside the ECO Cycle system at the Konan Hoshi No Koen Parking on December 3, 2013 in Tokyo, Japan.

Keith Tsuji/Getty Images

TORONTO – Buried under the streets of Tokyo, a rare inside look at Japan’s underground bicycle storage system looks more like a scene from a sci-fi movie than parking storage.

Developed by construction solutions company GIKENT, the ECO Cycle underground bicycle parking system was designed to tackle the over-crowded bike parking issues in urban areas of Japan.

Since its implementation in 2010, the city says illegally parked bicycles has drastically decreased from the area.

With five underground storage bicycle storage facilities in total, the  ECO Cycle system measures 8.5 metres in diameter and has a depth of 11.6 metres and can store up to 204 bicycles.

In order to use the system, cyclists pay a monthly subscription and are issued a personal card and an ID tag that is placed on the bicycle and identifies the bike with the registered user.

Check out the images below to get a closer look at how the ECO Cycle underground bicycle parking system in Japan works:

Registered cyclists bring their bicycles to the ECO Cycle system elevator.
(Photo credit: Keith Tsuji/Getty Images)

Users place their bicycles on a platform where the ECO Cycle system elevator doors hold the bicycle’s front wheel in position with a mechanical arm.

(Photo credit: Keith Tsuji/Getty Images)

Once in place, the user presses a green start button and the door to the elevator opens and the bicycle is taken out of sight.
(Photo credit: Keith Tsuji/Getty Images)

The bike is then whisked to the underground level. A carrier lift that holds the bicycle rotates downwards and stores the bicycles. This process takes about eight seconds.

(Photo credit: Keith Tsuji/Getty Images)

Bicycles are stacked on top of each other inside the ECO Cycle system:
(Photo credit: Keith Tsuji/Getty Images)

A top inside view of the ECO Cycle system:
(Photo credit: Keith Tsuji/Getty Images)

(Photo credit: Keith Tsuji/Getty Images)

In order to retrieve the bicycle, the subscribed user must swipe his or her ECO Cycle card.
(Photo credit: Keith Tsuji/Getty Images)

The carrier lift then pulls out the bicycle and moves it back up above ground. 
(Photo credit: Keith Tsuji/Getty Images)

Cyclists retrieve their bicycle from the ECO Cycle system.
(Photo credit: Keith Tsuji/Getty Images)

© 2013 Shaw

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