Railway lines often form a barrier to cyclists. That's just as true here in the Netherlands as in other countries.
As reported recently by the Fietsersbond, Minister Eurlings has made 117 million euros available to build tunnels under railway lines. These can reduce the distance that cyclists need to travel, and increase the popularity of cycling.
Tunnels for cyclists cost between one and 5 million euros to build and this new funding will cover a quarter of the cost for any individual tunnel. The new the funding is therefore enough to support building of around 150-200 average tunnels over the next couple of years, and these will be spread between the 26 towns targeted by the funding.
There are already quite a large number of crossings of railway lines for cyclists. One of those in Assen itself is shown in the video below:
And here's another, 30 km North, which provides a short cut on my commute to Groningen. Note how pedestrians and cyclists are separate in both cases, with a four metre wide cycle path and a two metre wide sidewalk:
Read more about bicycle tunnels in the Netherlands, including details of standards for width, slopes etc.
Remember that the Netherlands has a population of just 16 million people. This new funding works out as around 7 Euros per person, just for extra railway tunnels. There is plenty of funding elsewhere for other things to do with cycling (e.g. Assen spends about 27 euros per person per year on new cycling infrastructure). Quoting just absolute figures can be misleading. It's the spending per capita which is really important.
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