Thursday 14 July 2011

From cycle path to cycle route

As part of an elaborate cycle plan the city of 's-Hertogenbosch is currently updating its cycling infrastructure. The city wants to raise the modal share of cycling from 33% to 44% of all trips (Note that these figures are  not reliable. They are not for "all trips" but result from not including walking as a transport mode and only considering cycling within the city). David has already written about this 2009 plan before and he has shown some of my video's with parts of the plan. Some weeks ago I showed you how (also as part of this cycling plan) new red asphalt was rolled out in another street.

This blog post wil focus on one of the updates that was also finished. This was a street with a collection of cycle paths and service streets. In the new plan this street had to be updated with the latest minimal requirements to be a real main cycling route. With the update finished we see it can indeed be called a main cycling route now. We see this shift in thinking about cycling infrastructure all over the Netherlands. Governments in charge of road building (from the State, to the Provinces to the municipal authorities) think and plan much more in routes rather than in individual streets or paths. Which really is an improvement and gets the grid complete.

Before: cycle path ends in shared service street

After: cycle path continues as bicycle street where cyclists have priority and cars are guests
While the streets had to be redone completely, the city took the opportunity to also change all the sewer pipes, the telephone, data and electricity cables and the water and natural gas pipes. This is the usual thing to do in the Netherlands. There is good coordination between all the companies responsible for all these systems under supervision of the city or municipal authorities. This dates back from the time (not so long ago) that all these services were run by the councils themselves. Since all cables are underground in this country it is a very good thing that there is this coordination. You wouldn't want streets to be dug up separately by all the different companies.

All new cables and pipes for natural gas, electricity, water, telephone, television and data.

All the sewer pipes were also renewed.
The elaborate works took place late 2009, early 2010 and the below video gives a short overview. Not only were service streets completely redone, where necessary the existing cycle paths got a far better surface as well.

To see the full impact of this updated route, you can see the before and after situation in the video below. 
To be able to read all the annotations it is best to watch the video on YouTube in a larger size. (The annotations are not fully shown in the window below.)

Now that so many of the works were finished, two years after the cycle plan became active, the city of 's-Hertogenbosch apparently felt confident enough to be a candidate city in the election of 'cycling city of the Netherlands 2011'. It is one of the 18 cities in the long-list in this election by the Fietsersbond (Cyclist's Union). This summer five of the cities will be chosen to go to the final election.

Note that the figures for cycling modal share in 's-Hertogenbosch


Charles Martin said...

You wouldn't want streets to be dug up separately by all the different companies.
Surely you are saying this with a smirk on your face, because you must know that that is exactly what happens elsewhere, the UK for example.

Mark W. said...

@Charles Martin. No, I meant it seriously. Of course it doesn't always go right here either. But that is something we really don't want. So with careful planning and organising things well, it does seem to go better here than in some other countries.
This was confirmed by foreign cyclists who asked how it was possible there were hardly any patches on the streets like they were used to at home. Well this is the reason: planning and coordinating the maintenance on all the different grids of pipes and cables, so the street has to be opened up as little as possible. And preferably do it while the streets are open for redesigning anyway.

Severin said...

I was going to say something similar to Charles Martin.

In my neighborhood in LA we are having a 2 quiet residential streets (one of which is in the LA Bike Plan to be converted to a 'bike boulevard') repaved with asphalt for the second time within mere months for absolutely no reason than other than the fact they did a sloppy job the first time. And the street that is to be converted to a bike boulevard in the LA Bike Plan will not be receiving any bike friendly provisions though now would be a great time to do so while the street is being repaved.

The Netherlands really seems like some wonderland that can't be achieved elsewhere. How are the Dutch so reasonable, so well-off and so happy and other countries can't take notice to take similar action?

Andy in Germany said...

yes... one reason that tram systems are difficult to build in the UK is that apparently the street is dug up by many different companies, and they (or at least some of them) demand what is essentially a blank cheque because they "Don't know" how much it will cost.

Remarkably I can report similar infrastructure to to what you're showing in a couple of places locally. Not in Stuttgart obviously: that might encourage cyclists and slow Mercedes drivers down.

Anonymous said...

To prevent arguments and confusion surrounding cables and pipelines, the Dutch government has made it mandatory for both excavators (like contractors for local authorities when building roads, cycle paths or tramways) and network operators (gas, electricity, water, sewage and even nafta and kerosene) to register in a database known as KLIC.
That way, everyone knows what to expect when digging up a road, and any company affected by roadworks can be easily notified and negotiated with.
It's an idea so simple and so effective that it's surprising that it isn't done everywhere.

Paul Martin said...

We were probably some of those foreign cyclists that were wondering where all the patches were! Our roads are a patchwork mess... and the patches are almost exclusively in the bicycle 'lane' (ie. small gutter stripe of paint).

The KLIC system sounds very sensible indeed...

Mark W. said...

@Paul, you and other members of the group were indeed the ones I had in mind saying this. Among others ;-)