More space for pedestrians and cyclists in Amsterdam
Over the next few years, Amsterdam will implement new measures to lessen congestion in the city and create more space in the public areas that are under increased pressure. Today, Alderperson Pieter Litjens (Traffic & Transport) presented the Traffic Implementation Plan listing more than 50 measures.
More room will be created for cyclists and pedestrians. More cars will be able to park below ground in 12 new parking garages that are being developed. All these measures combined will provide more room in the busiest places at the busiest times, which will increase the available space by an area that is comparable to over 20 football pitches. In addition, the City of Amsterdam will implement measures to improve traffic flows and reinforce connections to and from the city.
Amsterdam is growing
In terms of the number of citizens, jobs, events, students and visitors, Amsterdam is growing. This growth is not only beneficial for the people of Amsterdam but for those doing business here. At the same time, it is putting more strain on the city’s accessibility and its public areas. Every day in Amsterdam there are some 1.1 million movements by bike or on foot, approximately 350,000 people arriving at and leaving from the train stations (50% at Amsterdam Central Station) and there are over 400,000 car movements. Cyclists, pedestrians, trams, buses and cars are getting into each other’s way more and more and the strain on the scarce public space around the city centre is immense.
Alderperson Litjens: “Amsterdam is growing. Hustle and bustle is a part of city life, but it is starting to take a toll in more and more areas. Everyone knows what needs to be done to ensure that the city remains accessible and to provide pleasant public areas: create more space for cyclists and pedestrians, park as many cars as possible below ground and establish a better flow of traffic. A lot has been said on the subject and there are plenty of ideas. But the time has come to make a decision and to start executing the plans.”
More room for cyclists
For years, the city has invested in its cycling network, which has resulted in one of the most extensive and intricate bicycle networks in the world. Consequently, Amsterdam is the number one cycling city. Due to a continued increase in bicycle usage (growth of 40% in the past 20 years), increasingly larger/wider bikes, the rise in the use of e-bikes and an accumulation of the number of bikes, it is necessary to improve the traffic flow for a number of busy cycle routes. Many of the measures included in the Traffic Implementation Plan focus on a better flow for all types of traffic. For instance, the cycle paths will be improved, while bike-only streets and more bike-friendly intersections will be developed. Within the city centre area there will be more space for pedestrians and cyclists, e.g. by restricting the use of cars and by reducing the maximum speed in many streets from 50 km/hr to 30 km/hr, allowing cars and trams to use the same part of the road.
A number of cycle paths will be widened and more will be constructed. The Long-term Bicycle Plan (2012-2016) already states that an additional 40,000 bicycle stands for parking will be required. More than half of these will be built below ground or in indoor bicycle sheds. The space of the current bicycle stands will also be better utilised. Research has shown that 15% of the bikes in the stands are not actively used; together this amounts to 40,000 stands. Therefore, a proposal has been put forward to enforce a maximum parking duration of six weeks for bikes in the centre of Amsterdam.
Underground car parks
The city council is also aiming to move more parking spaces underground and reduce traffic searching for a parking space by building eight parking garages in the city centre area; this is in addition to the four garages that were already scheduled to be built. In total, these garages will provide approximately 4,000 extra parking spaces. More P+R spaces will be created on the outskirts of the city. And Amsterdammers who do not frequently use their car will be given the opportunity to park their cars outside the city centre at a more favourable rate.
All measures included in the Implementation Plan combined will lead to more room in the city for pedestrians and cyclists, and will increase the public space by an area that is comparable to over 20 football pitches – especially in the busiest areas at the busiest times. These measures will also ensure that the city remains accessible for motorists who really do need to be in the city.
Photos by Edwin van Eis