Direct from the Fietsberaad:
Amsterdam can barely cope with the growing numbers of cyclists, as a survey of mobility in the Dutch capital over the past 25 years demonstrates. There are as yet no bicycle jams, but partly due to the arrival on the scene of carrier bicycles, the width of bike paths is increasingly a problem. And of course parking guarantees a headache.
In busy squares, at train and metro stations, but also near university buildings, shopping centres and leisure spots in narrow Amsterdam streets an increasing amount of public space is taken up by parked bicycles, according to the report ‘Mobiliteit in en rond Amsterdam, Een blik op de toekomst vanuit een historisch perspectief’. Data demonstrate that at these locations often several dozen percent of all bicycles are parked outside the official parking spaces. In June of 2007 for instance 1,390 bicycles were parked at the back of Amstelstation, whereas capacity ran to no more than 1,100. This comes down to an occupancy rate of 126%. For the west side of Centraal Station (including the bicycle flat) this was a staggering 136% in October of 2008. The overall estimated number of bicycle parking spaces (stands, staples and parking facilities) is currently 200,000.
The heaviest streams of cyclists are mainly headed for the central part of the town centre. But bicycle numbers in the immediate vicinity of the town centre and the surrounding ring are impressive as well. The large numbers of cyclists do not cause substantial delays due to traffic jams. But a number of busy routes does have a problem with the width of the bike paths, partly due to the increasing use of carrier bicycles.
The busiest cycling routes are Marnixstraat (1,970 passing cyclists in the evening peak hour), Weteringschans (1,920) and Weesperzijde (1,900).
Nevertheless the bicycle can easily compete with car and public transport in the inner city, according to local authorities. The percentage of car trips by Amsterdam residents has fallen in all distance categories. Bicycle use has greatly increased in all distance categories under 10 kilometres. This has happened, however, not only at the expense of the car, but also of public transport. Over short distances cycling is apparently more attractive than public transport.
Bicycle ownership among Amsterdam residents has greatly increased over the past 25 years (63% versus 73%). Ownership in Amsterdam is below the overall Dutch average (73% versus 88% ). The increase in bicycle ownership was greatest among residents aged 45 and over, among people aged over 65 it has almost doubled (from 27% to 48%). The average number of bicycle trips per person per day is however higher in Amsterdam (0,9 versus 0,8). People there use their bicycles therefore more intensively than the average Dutchman. The largest increase in the number of bicycle trips per person per day occurs in the group aged 45 to 59. This may be due to car parking policies, but also to health advantages or a more positive attitude towards cycling in general, is the impression of the writers of the report. The group aged 12 to 15 also cycles more and is incidentally the group with the highest bicycle use. Among residents in higher income brackets the cycling percentage in the overall number of trips has more than doubled (from 15% to 33% ).
In Amsterdam people park their bicycles at home in a storage facility (46%), in the street (36%), in their home (10%), in the courtyard (5%) or a parking facility (2%). In the districts outside the ring road the percentage of bicycles parked in a storage facility is considerably higher than in the neighbourhoods within the ring road. Within the ring road over more than half of all bicycles are parked in the street(53%), whereas this is rare outside the ring road(4%).
Not culture, not history – physical change
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