Monday, 20 July 2009

A Dutch city with a "low" cycling rate

Maastricht is a city in the south-eastern, and quite hilly, Dutch province of Limburg.

The Fietsberaad reports that Maastricht now has a new and ambitious cycling plan.

The article is quite interesting. In the city currently, 30% of all journeys up to 7.5 km ( 5 miles ) are by bike, which is now considered to be a low figure by comparison with other Dutch cities. The aim is that by 2011, the rate of cycling will have increased by 10% beyond the rate in 2006. In order to help make this happen, four million Euros are being spent in the next two years. Maastricht's population is 117000, so that's around 17 Euros per person per year.

There are eight main ways in which the change is to the made.
  1. There is to be a reduction in barriers on the main cycle route network.
  2. Further separation of the networks for cars, public transport and cycling.
  3. Improvement in comfort and safety of important routes.
  4. Improvement in permeability for cyclists of and between different areas.
  5. Improvement of quality of the facilities.
  6. Quantity and accessibility of cycle parking facilities and parks.
  7. Expansion of availability of hire and loan bikes.
  8. Investment in mobility management, education, cycling promotion
  9. Improvements for recreational cycle usage.
The plan has come about on the basis of conclusions from the Fietsbalans ( a standardized way in which Dutch cities evaluate how they are doing ), various evaluations, results from traffic surveys, discussion with involved organisations, feedback from exhibitions and reactions sent by citizens. In November 2007, citizens were given took the opportunity to react online. 800 placed messages about problems on an interactive map, all of which have now been dealt with.

Anyway, now you've heard the "bad news", take a look at what Maastricht actually looks like. Very few cities in other countries, even in areas of other countries which are a lot flatter than here, have anything like this level of cycling:

Video courtesy of Mark Wagenbuur.


John in NH said...

sigh, bloody Dutch always setting the bar high :P

this is really good though! when people think 30% is a problem, and really it can be much higher! its like recycling, ok we can get 30% kinda easily but to hit 50+ effort and real monies need to be spent and you can tell when a city is serious when it focuses in and pushes past the easy %. great job, excited to see the actual projects as they progress!

Anonymous said...

Hah! Put that in your pipe and smoke it, Americans! The amount of remarks I've read about "the only reason why the Dutch cycle so much is because the country is so flat" and "heavy, clunky Dutch bicycles are no good in the USA because they are to heavy to use in hilly country"...