Thursday 15 September 2011

Before and after: more improved cycling infrastructure (2)

In an earlier blog post I have shown you examples of changes to the cycling infrastructure of 's-Hertogenbosch. The city has started a city wide update of the cycling infrastructure in 2009 under a six year plan. Almost three years into the plan it is becoming very clear all over the city that the update was not just mere talk and paper plans, no, there really is a great change for the better becoming visible.

Below I will show you two more examples.

Missing link: this narrow old path formed the missing link between existing wide cycle paths. The route -away from motorised traffic- has now been completed.

A main cycle route from the North-East connects a suburb to the centre of the city. Many commuters and school children cycle this route. There was one piece 'missing'. Of course it wasn't really missing but it was not up to the latest standards. It was too narrow and the surface was really bad and needed a good makeover. This was done and now the route is complete. The cycle route now has priority on every junction. This means that cars that merge into the part of the route that is shared space have to give priority to cyclists already on the cycle route going straight on. For that some junctions were changed in such a way that this priority is clear. The cyclists go straight on, motorised traffic has to merge and swerve, not the other way around.

Comfort and safety comes from details. A smoother asphalt and a 'forgiving kerb'.
The last example shows that quality improvement is in the details. The 'only' difference is that this cycle path got a new surface. Both at the beginning and end of the video the connecting cycle paths already had smooth red asphalt. The cycle path in between still had an older type of surface: concrete tiles. The smooth red asphalt is now continuous. Another thing that was changed was the kerb. It is now less likely that cyclists accidentally riding onto the kerb fall, because of the new type of kerb.

Closer look to a 'forgiving kerb'. It has a shallow angle. Less dangerous than the older kerbs with a more common 90 degree angle. A cyclist accidently hitting this new type of kerb is less likely to fall.

With all the updates 's-Hertogenbosch was chosen as one of the five nominees running for cycling city 2011 in the Netherlands. I have reported about this before. The final decission will be made in November by an expert jury but there is also a popular vote in which the city is not doing well. 's-Hertogenbosch is now in a shared 3rd position and when you look at the before and after videos you will have to agree that that is clearly undeserved.


christhebull said...

Erm - the videos are still private. Is this because you've only just posted this and I am the first to notice, which on Bike Snob NYC would require me to write "first"?

Mark W. said...

Thanks for the warning, I corrected it.
The long explanation: I forgot I made them private because normally I only make them 'unlisted'. But in this case YouTube decided to make them public when I uploaded them as unlisted and people started commenting right away. The only option you then have is make them totally invisible. Because they are already in numerous lists. When I tested the post I didn't notice since I was logged on to YouTube.
Anyhow, you can now see them ;-)

Paul Martin said...

Fantastic, Mark! I really do like your 'before and after' films. When next I'm in The Netherlands I must visit your home town.

One other striking observation when looking at these videos and indeed when riding in The Netherlands was the distinct lack of visual pollution. There just aren't thousands of road signs/warning signs/advertising signs ruining the view. I miss that.

Here there is so much signage that I'm sure the laws of diminishing returns are coming into play...


ndru said...

I hate looking at videos of Dutch infrastructure as later on I have to ride on UK roads. Oh the envy!!!
Joking aside - good post. Very informative. If I were to write one like this it would definitely be about the Lambeth bridge. They've added like 30cm to the bicycle lane. Making it 50cm wide.

Mark W. said...

@Paul you're welcome! Strange that it works so quiet for you. The second video's path is actually no. 5 in the top 10 of most busy cycle paths in the Netherlands!
About the signs... you should know, the most notorious of all notices is after all from your hometown, isn't it... ;-)

Paul Martin said...


Haha, yes. Those signs (as you know) are all art installations at Brisbane's Powerhouse. They are a response to 'excessive and unnecessary signs' on our landscape but I think the point is lost on most people.

I like the red stop sign with the word "GO" instead of "STOP" on it. :)

Slow Factory said...

In Berlin,"forgiving curbs" are mainly used by cyclists either going the wrong way and detouring around right way cyclists, or just to pass other cyclists. So then they enter the pedestrian space. This is because the paths are too narrow. So, a forgiving curb is bad for pedestrians when a path is too narrow.

Willie B said...

Hi Mark and David - no hurry, but I'd like to see a price for the coloured surfacing, and some figures on how long it is expected to last. Here in Essex, UK, the county refuses to add coloured surfacing because of the initial expense and the cost of maintenance.

David Hembrow said...

Mark: That's a great list which I'd not previously seen. Good to see that even little Assen (population 67000) manages nearly 9000 cyclists a day in Nieuwehuizen, though the most visible photo of mine which shows it has no bikes at all in it.

Note that the list shows only the highest usage in each city. Because I was looking at them earlier today, I know there are several streets in Groningen with more than 14000 cyclists per day, at least 5 with more than 10000. I'm pretty sure they don't even count the highest usage streets, next to the vismarkt.

Cyclo: The coloured surfacing is not just paint as used elsewhere, but coloured asphalt. I don't know how much it costs. Normally it's the last layer of several applied, and about an inch thick. It's about as long lasting as any other asphalt.

kfg said...