These old photos show how Hoogeveen's main street, Hoofdstraat, changed over the years, and demonstrate the progression towards car orientation:
|1945: Canal is still in use as a canal|
|1951: Canal filled in to provide for a future with more motor traffic.|
|1960: More cars have appeared, but there are still trees in the centre of the road.|
|1965: The centre has been converted into car parking.|
|2010: It's no longer all about cars. The water is back. A second revolution has taken place on the streets of the Netherlands.|
Note: This video has explanatory captions which are not visible on mobile devices. Please view on a computer for the explanation.
Not only are people and bikes back, but water has come back to the centre of the road as well in an echo of the situation 60 years ago - though of course it is not navigable as it was back then.
This space, like in the centre of Assen, is primarily for pedestrians and cyclists. Motorists are not central as they would be in shared space. The area allows cars for access, but doesn't encourage through journeys.
The best thing about wide roads like this is that they offer lots of opportunities to change them. Hoogeveen's centre no longer looks at all like it used to. You can also look at it yourself by using Google's Streetview:
|The centre of Hoogeveen on a sunny Saturday in spring. All kinds of people cycle to the town centre|
|Infrastructure which is as accessible as this gives freedom to everyone, including people with disabilities. This recumbent tricycle has electric assist and gives its rider far greater freedom than would be possible if she lived outside of an accessible city.|
Hoogeveen isn't the only place which changed to be more car oriented and then had to fight back to recreate decent living conditions. Nijmegen, Den Bosch, Groningen and Assen show similar transformations.
There are other before and after posts on this blog.