Saturday, 2 June 2012

Cycle-paths of Drenthe - 98% good, 2% being repaired

Another item from our local TV station: Two months ago, I wrote about how the cycle-paths of Drenthe were being tested for quality. The results are now in.

There are currently a lot of storks
nesting in Drenthe
All 2300 km of cycle-path in the province have been tested, and just 2% found to need maintenance within a year with and 5% needing another look at a lower priority. This work has already started - the cycle-path resurfacing works that we rode past last week are on a section which was amongst the 2% identified as needing work.

Some of the flowers are out already
The video shows the seriousness with which this is taken. At the start, the deputy for traffic and transport makes his appearance by bike. A yellow instrumented car is shown, which was driven along the paths to make measurements of surface quality and other issues.

It has to be taken seriously because recreational cycling is worth €670 million each year to the province. The attractions of the province are well known to the Dutch and Germans and almost all of this us due to Dutch and German visitors.

Judy riding through an area of heath
The English speaking market is very much smaller, and we're almost alone in offering cycling holidays for English speaking people in Drenthe, the Netherlands "Cycling Province".

While The video description gives a figure of 2300 km of cycle-path in Drenthe, a spokesman in the video talks of 1700 km. He's asking for rural cycle-paths which are looked after by 12 different rural councils and maintained to 12 different standards to be unified under one responsible agency so that they will be consistent in future. The difference between 2300 and 1700, or 600 km, is just about the same as the total length of cycle-path in the two cities of Assen and Emmen combined.

All photos were taken by Judy and I last week when we were planning routes for this years' holiday customers


Kevin Love said...

Impressive! What is the cycle mode share in Drenthe?

David Hembrow said...

I don't have a figure for Drenthe alone to hand. However I do have a figure for the three Northern and least densely populated provinces of the Netherlands, Drenthe, Friesland and Groningen, together: 30% of all journeys are by bike and 17% by foot.

Clark in Vancouver said...

The old picture in the display of the guy biking on a very muddy road is pretty cool. Do you know the history of that picture?

Koen said...

Clark: about the photo at 1:32-Drenthe used to be heartwrenchingly poor until the 1930s, I'd say, or even after that. So you's see mud roads, undernourished people and people living in houses made of stacked heather or grass turfs. This man was obviously one of the wealthier ones, since he could afford a bike. But there would be mud roads all over the place.

John in NH said...

ha! Our bridges are running anywhere from 10-nearly 30% structurally deficient. Lets not even talk about the actual roads and their state of repair. Bike infrastructure? be lucky it is even paved and not a mud path full of mosquitoes.

I simply don't know how we could ever provide good quality cycle infrastructure sometimes, our roads, rails, airports, sidewalks etc are crap and falling apart, even the "new stuff" which has been built by contractors with lax oversight.

Recently a bridge between my state and the state next door, a major connector for bike/ped as well as auto traffic had to be shut down and fully removed because both states refused to provide the money for maintenance because nobody wanted to raise taxes to help restore a historical monument built during the great depression honoring WWI vets.

So we waited until it literally fell apart, and pleaded for money from the federal government. We got it but what does that lesson teach others? Wait until it falls apart and then the feds will help.

In the meantime a lightly used shuttle service is provided to maintain bike/ped connections while two other bridges maintain auto connections (bike/peds are forbidden from using these remaining bridges, somebody would have to detour 20+ miles to the next bridge for bike/ped traffic). The shuttle is a good step but it should not have come to that in the first place.

Sad that we call ourselves a first world country. Very sad indeed.