Wednesday 26 August 2009

More Railway Tunnels

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.


l' homme au velo said...

That's a great Idea,unfortunately in Dublin any time they Built Long Tunnels under Roads for Pedestrians and Cyclists it always Ended up being used for Anti Social Behaviour like Drugs and Drinking Parties. There was always the Danger of People getting Beaten up in the Evenings.

So most of these have been Dismanteled over the Years and Filled inn for Safety. It is a Different Mentality in Netherlands. The People over here would need a Brain Transplant. Also you will find loads of Broken Glass and nobody ever Cleaning it up.

David Hembrow said...

Social safety is a concern here too, so the way tunnels is built is important. For instance these days they are built straight so that you can see out the other side before you enter. Some older tunnels have been closed here too.

Also, in some cases alternatives are used instead of tunnels. e.g. a couple of years ago here in Assen a dual carriageway was put on a bridge instead of building a tunnel under it in order that the cycle route would be more attractive. In this case, the "cycle facility" is a bridge taking the cars so that the cyclists journeys are on the level. A photo showing the bridge is here.

l' homme au velo said...

That Cycleway looks good and very Clean too. We have an awful lot of Cyclists now Recently but we are Proceeding at a Snails pace at Providing a more Safer Environment for Cyclists,it is very much like the UK with very narrow Cycle Lanes.

I received a DVD recently from the Fitsberaad about Cycling Infrastructure in the Netherlands and it is very interesting. I became a Member of it and sometimes I post comments on the Web Site,so I sent away for the DVD .It arrived last Week, a big Thank you to them and Mr Vorknect.