Vrijthof Car Park refurbished in record time

On Saturday 15 November, Maastrichts Executive Councillor John Aarts will open Q-Parks Vrijthof car park. The festivities begin in the morning with a magnificent underground breakfast for 700 guests.
The car park will then be opened to the public from 1.00 - 5.00 p.m. with guided tours, a vintage car show and exhibitions showing the construction of the car park, future parking projects in Maastricht and much more besides. Drivers can start parking underneath Vrijthof Square from Monday 17 November. The car park is the first result of a unique Public Private Partnership in the parking sector in the Netherlands and is the foremost example of what parking in car parks will be like in future.

Record time

The Vrijthof car park was built in record time. The above-ground part of the project had to be completed during the seven months between two important annual events which take place in Vrijthof Square, the Winter Wonderland in December and January and the Preuvenemint food fair at the end of August. After that, a further three months were needed to make the car park ready for use underground as well. To speed up construction, a number of project stages were carried out in parallel. For example, while the old car park was being demolished on one side of the square, the new car park was being built on the other.

Quality of life

Accessibility and the quality of life played a major part in the design of the refurbished building, both underground in the car park and above ground in the square. The car park has a second vehicle entrance – which means that the pavement cafés along Vrijthof Square are hardly affected by traffic at all – and an additional pedestrian exit with a lift that comes out directly opposite the entrance to the theatre. “This is consistent with Q-Park’s philosophy that parking is not an end in itself, but part of the overall mobility chain,” says Mark van Haasteren, Managing Director of Q-Park Nederland. “Customers don’t park for the sake of parking, but in order to reach their destination. Car parks therefore have to be integrated into their environment and meet all the needs of today’s consumer”.

Many additional services

The new car park has 445 angled parking spaces, which makes it easier to drive in and out of them. In addition, the car park is better laid out and more accessible thanks to the use of a column-free design. It has monitored bicycle racks with space for 225 bicycles, a constantly supervised public toilet and self-service dispensers from which customers can buy convenience items. Pedestrians can go straight from the car park traffic lanes to a car-free pedestrian zone via a central atrium. A Q-Park host is continuously on duty to assist car park customers. 

Public Private Partnership

Q-Park’s Vrijthof car park is the first fruit of the partnership between the City of Maastricht and Q-Park as the car park operator. On 26 November 2002 the two parties signed the first parking-related Public Private Partnership agreement in the Netherlands, the aim of which is to take parking in Maastricht to a higher level. The priorities are quality, accessibility and quality of life. One way of achieving quality is to modernise or refurbish existing car parks, and the Vrijthof car park in the heart of the city is the first project in this category. Property development was handled by 3W and the contractors Van Kan-Jongen (a subsidiary of Bouwbedrijven Jongen BV) were responsible for construction. Over the next few years Q-Park will cooperate with the City of Maastricht to modernise or refurbish three public car parks and all residents’ car parks in Maastricht. The company is also working with 3W on the new parking facility in the Mosae Forum development.

Vrijthofgarage in Maastricht (The Netherlands)- How it started

Safe, accessible and convenient: these are the words that describe the new Vrijthofgarage. The car park will meet the highest quality standards, putting it among the top car parks in Europe.
By reducing the car park’s capacity from 505 to 450 parking spaces, each space will have more room. The column-free span will make it easier to drive in and out of a parking space. There will be a service corner in the car park with an Internet terminal, an ATM and a vending machine stocked with convenience items.
The new Vrijthofgarage is part of the Parking PPP (public-private partnership between Q-Park and the City of Maastricht).
· 450 parking spaces
· Secure bicycle stalls for 125 bicycles
· Extra entrance lane (car-free lane for pavement cafes along Vrijthof Square)
· Clearly marked routing
· Column-free span (no columns in parking bays, only at the end) and diagonal parking spaces for maximum parking ease
· Optimal safety
· Deluxe public toilet
· Specially designed pedestrian zone (atrium); pedestrian exit with lift
· Service corner: wireless Internet terminal, ATM, convenience items
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