Story by Darja Pilipovic, photos courtesy of Press Office City of Amsterdam and Heather Reid
More space for pedestrians and cyclists in Amsterdam
Even in the country best known as a cyclists paradise, they are finding MORE space for cyclists and pedestrians
It is estimated that 63% of Amsterdam's population use their bicycles on a daily basis. It is also a city where bicycle movement trumps car traffic: bike numbers are higher than both car traffic and public transport. That means that wherever you're headed in Amsterdam, you're likely to be headed there on a bike.
Despite these encouraging figures, the city of Amsterdam will be implementing new measures to lessen congestion in the city and create even more space for bikes and better usable space in public areas, in general.
The growing numbers of citizens, especially students and tourists in this popular destination, means that conflicts and congestion are happening more often. Public space is scarce, and cyclists, pedestrians, and drivers are crossing paths more and more frequently, creating a need to find new ways to decrease the strain on accessibility and public areas.
And so, Amsterdam has decided to call on new measures to create additional room for cyclists and pedestrians. This includes the development of 12 new underground car parking garages. Bike stands will also be receiving an overhaul, as it is estimated that 40,000 more stands will be needed by 2016 and more than half of those to be built will be located indoors, or below ground. A maximum parking duration of six weeks will also be enforced for the city centre to allow more usable parking space, and new paths and bike-friendly intersections will be developed.
And, the cherry on the proverbial sundae: Car access within the city's centre will be restricted to allow more space for cyclists and pedestrians, in part by reducing the maximum speed limit.
These measures are intended to allow more room in the busiest places at the busiest times for bikes. Traffic connections will also be getting a re-working to help smooth connectivity to and from the city.
A fellow dandy (editor on our youth and employment issue), Heather Reid, commented on her experience navigating Amsterdam's bike paths:
“There were tons of whizzing bikes, and crazy crisscrossing traffic around the canals. There was always this stream of bikes going by in any direction. So you really have to watch where you're going! Not to mention all the super stylish cruiser bicycles.”
The cycling network in Amsterdam is one of the most renowned in the world, with more than 500 kilometres of lanes and paths. It is known as the number one cycling city, and due to the rise in bicycle usage by almost 40% in the past 20 years, the city is now working hard to improve cycling infrastructure.
Amsterdam's bike culture has lent itself to not only the satisfaction of Amsterdam's citizenry, but also to business and tourism. Cycling is one of the city's most famous draws.
This only further demonstrates that bike path infrastructure and plans within Toronto -- such as Railpath, the Reading Line, the Pan Am Path, and the Greenbelt Route (stay tuned for an update on the new Greenbelt Route in our new issue and here on the dandyBLOG!) -- are all dynamic projects worthy investment for the city.
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