After the second world war, Hoogeveen (current population 54000), a town which was growing rapidly due to being the centre for many industries, became more and more car oriented. Space was made for wide roads on "American" lines. This happened in several places in the Netherlands.
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.
1951. The canal has been filled in to provide for more "traffic possibilities."
1960. More cars have appeared, but trees are still in the centre of the road.
1965. Space in the centre of the road primarily used for parking cars.
2010. It's no longer all about cars, and the water is back. A second revolution has taken place.
Here's a video showing how it looks now:
Note how 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:
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.
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