Thursday 17 February 2011

Shopkeepers prefer cyclists

Branko Collin sent me an interesting story today:

The popular Ferdinand Bol shopping street in Amsterdam (which crosses the Albert Cuyp market) has been partially closed off while the city of Amsterdam has been tunneling a subway underneath. Now that the end of the tunneling is in sight, the city's department of infrastructure has announced it will put the original double tram tracks back in.

The street's shopkeepers' association is none too pleased about this, as it reduces the space for cyclists and pedestrians.

It was reported here and here.


kfg said...

The little ironies just keep comin', don't they?

Anonymous said...

We had no end of hostility in our town when we tried to put a cycle route in front of a parade of shops. Cyclists going one way stick to the road, but contraflow cyclists now have to cross the road, join a shared us footway, then cross the road again ... all because our council didn't want to upset its short-sighted shopkeepers.

Slow Factory said...

What are the options? Can the (I assume) current temporary route be made permanent? I suppose promises were made for that as well. Having a single bi-directional track is possible but still puts a heavy vehicle in the soft zone. At the same time we need to remember that car drivers love metros since they do not slow them down. Trams are our friends.

Anonymous said...

Currently there's no track going through Ferdinand Bolstraat at all, since the metro building site took up the full width of the street (barring a narrow pedestrian zone on either side).

I'm sure a single-track section would be possible, there's an extensive single-track section in Leidsestraat, one of the busiest tram routes on the network (something like 60 trams total per hour during rush hour). With the advent of the metro at Ferdinand Bol, the tram service would likely be reduced to a single line — line 25 — which currently is the least frequent in the whole network (15 minute headways). Even at 20 kph, the total time needed to traverse the 240m route would only be 43 seconds.

Interestingly, a similar tram-vs-cyclist debate is currently raging in Leiden.

Frits B said...

What I don't understand here is that the council wants to bring back the tram and accepts no delay for no other reason that the tracks need to be replaced as they normally last 25 years and their time is up apparently. There is a metro under that street now, so why add a tram on the surface? It's a narrow street, and an ideal opportunity to make it a pedestrian zone with cycle lanes. The shops would love that.
We have the same mysterious discussion in Groningen. The old town with its narrow streets lies between the main railway and bus station, and the university campus. At present the students and related visitors take a bike or the bus. The council now wants a tram, a big one to cope with the traffic flow. And it has to run right through the old town. Protests ran high, so it has dawned to those placed above us that there already is a rail track in place running from the station past the campus to villages to the North of Groningen, which can be used for the same purpose.
The same sort of situation exists in Leiden. The region needs a light rail system which absolutely MUST run through the mediaeval city centre. There is not even room for two tracks.
Common sense in politics?

Kevin Love said...

My problems with trams is that their tracks are very slippery, particularly when wet.

Since it has been known to rain every so often in NL, I presume that this is an issue there also.

Here in Toronto we've got an extensive tram network, and I'm always very, very careful cycling over the tracks.

Slow Factory said...

David, are "tram tracks" just another "excuse"? :-)

Tom B said...

The Newcastle Cycle Campaign has been working on a presentation aimed at chambers of commerce in suburban high street retail locations. The idea is to build support for cycle infrastructure by pointing out the economic value of shoppers on bikes for these locations. I can't publish this online as I am unsure on the copyright of some of the images used in the current version. But happy to make this available to any other campaigners looking to do something similar. Contact via and ask for Tom.

Neil said...

Kevin, surely one design issue would be to make sure that cyclists generally only need to cross the track at 90deg. I suspect having separation as normal (in NL) helps with that aim.