Amsterdam is already recognised by Copenhagenize.eu as the world’s most bike friendly city, but measures announced by Alderman Pieter Litjens will help it to maintain that position.
A press release on Amsterdam.nl describes the scale of the traffic movements on a daily basis: 1.1 million trips by bike or on foot, as well as 350,000 arriving by train, with half of those at Amsterdam Centraal, the main train station; then there are 400,000 car movements, plus trams and buses. The city is one of few in the world where you can see a traffic jam that is comprised of cyclists.
So Alderman Litjens, who has the portfolio for Traffic and Transportation (but also covers Human Resources, Municipal Property, and Purchasing, as well as being responsible for the Southeast District), has come up with 50 measures to reduce congestion in a “Mobility Implementation Agenda” with the aim of keeping the city centre both attractive and a safe place to be, with more space for bicycles and pedestrians, parking cars wherever possible underground or on the edge of the city, and a better flow of traffic.
There are already four new underground car parks under construction and eight additional ones are planned. These will remove surface car parking, with an estimated total space equivalent to 20 football pitches. With so many people in Amsterdam walking or cycling to work and to the shops, car usage is lower than elsewhere in Europe, but people still own cars. Those who use their cars infrequently will be offered discounted parking rates at edge of city park and ride sites.
One of the landmark measures is that the city centre will be car-free on Saturdays. More areas will reduce their speed limits from 50 to 30 km/hour (around 30 and 18.5 mph respectively).
Some of the main shopping and nightlife areas will gain more space for pedestrians, and there will be even better cycling streets and junctions – when Dutch provision of these is already the envy of many.
One of the measures already under way is the pre-construction planning of an underground cycle park on the south side of Amsterdam Centraal station under the so-called “Open Harbourfront”. Initially the park will accommodate 7,000 bikes. By 2020 there will be 17,500 spaces around the station, which will grow to 21,500 by 2030. With the main station right on the bank of the river Ij, the Dutch ProRail company is also building 2 floating bike parks which will accommodate 4,000 spaces. And just to make every cyclist green, there are already 4,200 bike spaces in a bike garage on the South West side of the station!
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