Thursday 25 September 2008

News from the green

Each week our local paper includes 4 pages or so of information from the local government about what is happening around the city. A "brink" is a green in the middle of a town, and generally where you'll find the town hall. Hence "Berichten van de brink" or "News from the green"

On the left you can see the first page of this week's communication. The main story is about a statue for the city centre. The "Old Beech".

However, there's nearly always something for cyclists too, and the item I've zoomed in on is about a cycle path to be built connecting the North of Assen with one of the outlying villages, Zeijen. There is already a very good quality cycle path connecting the city to the village (featured in a video at the end of this blog post), but the new one which opens at the start of next year will provide a different route and be intended more for recreational rides.

The path will take the route of an existing right of way called the "Schoolpad" as many years ago it was the route for taken by school children. However, it was never properly surfaced and has been out of use except for agricultural vehicles for many years. I've ridden on it, and at present it's rather bumpy. Similar to many bridleways in the UK.

The "restoration" of this path will give it a smooth concrete or tarmac surface and the result will resemble the artist's impression in the article, complete with the lining of oak trees to give a pleasant appearance and provide a habitat for bats. The path will be broad enough that agricultural vehicles can also use it for access to the fields, so it will have a proper foundation and be built to the standard of a road.

This two kilometre long high quality path will cost half a million euros to complete. It is far from the only work planned for the rest of this year and next year. Further blog posts will cover others.

This path will feature on our cycling tours next year.

When I lived in Cambridge I proposed for many years that a route be established between the North of Cambridge behind the regional college to Landbeach, following the line of the ancient Mere Way. This is similar in many ways. It would provide a direct route from a village to the city (in this case from a village which doesn't currently have a good quality cycle route, and directly to an area with education and employment) and it would follow an existing right of way. Landbeach is a bigger village with a population of 825 vs. 680 for Zeijen, so you might think it would have a higher priority. However, sadly there was no will to provide such a route for cyclists, and no funding available.

The video below shows part of the existing high quality route between Zeijen and Assen, and which was featured on this year's study tours.

See also how this cycle-path is kept clear of snow in the winter.


Anonymous said...

The artist's impression in the paper looks great - tree-lined to give shade & shelter from the wind, and arrow-straight! When's the scheduled completion date?

David Hembrow said...

I think it'll be a nice addition to the many recreational cycle paths around here, and it's close to our home so we'll certainly be using it - there's a nice cafe in Zeijen.

The article only says it'll be ready for cyclists to use "at the beginning of next year". It doesn't give an actual date. By my standards, things get built very quickly here.

MattP said...

You lot out there are crazy! You could get a guided bus built on that cycle route instead, or car parking. That is what the 'UK's number one cycling city' Cambridge does. erm....