|The old, inferior route between Eindhoven and Valkenswaard for cyclists. The photo, with that caption, generated quite a lot of discussion on Twitter. I rode here with my family on holiday in 2003.|
|Andre Engels provided this map.|
The new path in orange takes a
different route, better for commuters
to the High Tech Campus. This is
the route of a disused railway line
The old cycle-path is not quite wide enough and it's alongside a busy road so can be noisy. Junction designs along here are not ideal and at some points the cycle-path is a bit too close to the road for comfort. There are also some stops along the way which increase journey time. While the photo shows a point at which the cycle-path is bidirectional, further along there are single direction paths on both sides of the road. This requires that people cross the road. Once again, not ideal.
The new route will avoid the problems of the old and because it will exist in parallel with the old route it offers people more choices and makes more journeys attractive for cycling. Not only will the different alignment of the route offer shorter distances for some cyclists, it is also expected to result in higher average speeds due to the relative lack of interruptions and higher surface quality.
Standards are improving all the time
The Netherlands is not standing still. The rate of change and improvement to cycling infrastructure here is still beyond that of other countries which sometimes talk of "catching up". You can never catch up by starting from behind and doing less. Catching up will only happen as a result of out-spending and out-planning the Netherlands. Low aspirations and politicians delaying tactics and broken promises will never result in adequate progress. Make sure that "Going Dutch" isn't just a slogan.
It's important to campaign for the highest standards. If you ask for less, you'll certainly achieve less. Falling further behind is the inevitable result.
Just because something can be found in the Netherlands, that doesn't automatically mean it's best practice. On our study tours we not only demonstrate the best infrastructure which should be emulated but also point out why some infrastructure which may look impressive actually falls below the best standards. Our aim to to avoid inspiration being taken from the merely adequate and mistakes being made.
Only low quality infrastructure has a cost
Cycling infrastructure which is of such a quality that it can be used by the masses has a huge positive effect on the economy. This infrastructure doesn't have a cost to society but provides a benefit. It is only infrastructure which is of such low quality that it does not encourage mass cycling which places a burden on the economy.
In the Netherlands, cycling infrastructure is a fiscal measure. It saves the country money. There are many reasons why it makes no sense at all for any nation to view cycling infrastructure as "too expensive" to build.
The subject of cycling infrastructure being cheaper to build than not to build has been discussed before. Read part one.