Like many dense cities, Amsterdam has a parking problem. In this city, though, it’s a problem of the two-wheeled variety. According to the city, there are about 295,000 bikes parked in the city at a given time but only 200,000 parking spots. The city often looks like this:

(Photo: Flickr/tychay)

(Photo: Flickr/Siadhal)

(Photo: Flickr/caribb)

Bicycles everywhere! But engineers at IBA, the city’s department of engineering, have come up with an idea for what seems to be a safe, efficient, and sleek solution to bicycle parking congestion. The basic idea is to store the bikes on roofs. Sounds pretty terrible for all the bikers. But it’s a solution that won’t involve climbing up flights of stairs with a bike or pedaling to the top of a parking garage. Instead, an elevator for your bike will lift it to the roof and store it in a secure location — you need only a transit card for the system to recognize your identity and retrieve the correct bike. Here the design:

(Image: City of Amsterdam)

But the idea isn’t to take the bikes out of sight. The city likes having the reputation of being a bike city. So if the city decides to move forward with the idea they’ll make sure to use a glass design so that the bikes are still visible.

Amsterdam has already built floating bike parking on the water as well as underground parking to go along with traditional bike parking. But, especially with underground parking, the price tag is high. The rooftop parking would use a underutilized resource in the city without the high cost of digging holes.

The city is currently in the process of studying these bike storage elevators and how to implement them, so don’t expect to see them on Amsterdam roofs for another five years or so.

(h/t Wired UK)