Monday, January 3, 2011

Cycle Traffic In Amsterdam Urban Planning

by Hugo Poelstra

Amsterdam had already undergone some 600 years of urban planning before the bicycle appeared at the end of the 19th century. Then it took nearly half a century before the bicycle was taken seriously as a means of urban transport when it came to town planning. This happened as part of the planning and implementation of city expansion as laid out in the General Extension Plan (1934) in the west and the south, where cycle paths were added to the most important roads. In the thirties, the bicycle was the dominant means of transport in a compact city with very little car traffic and scarcely any need for special provisions. Things changed after the Second World War, with the rise of the automobile and increasing distances. This presentation will show, using a few examples, how new urban planning has dealt with the role of the bicycle. (One example of how cycle facilities have been introduced in older parts of the city is discussed in the contribution by Addy Jonker whereas Ton Schaap’s contribution emphasizes new districts in progress.)
Town planning and urban development are important determining factors for cycle use. At the same time though, planning and design has to take account of many more factors than just the bike. The result can therefore vary considerably depending on numerous variables like the topographical situation, design standards, accessibility, land use and densities, available budgets, the planning process, vision and personal opinions of planners, designers and administrators etc.etc.
The following will show how cycle facilities are part of a number of urban expansions over the last thirty years. Where possible the functioning of these facilities will be evaluated. The presentation will be followed by a cycle excursion to the Nieuw Sloten district, one of the examples to be discussed.

Locked bicycles in the snow, Amsterdam, image by Nadya Peek

Amsterdam, image by Jessalyn Peters

more posts about bicycle planning in Europe:

Sustainable Transport Ideas: Cycling in Amsterdam

Cycling to Sustainability in Amsterdam

Bike Parking: a Key Part of the Bicycle Planning Amenities

500 Kilometers of Bicycle Routes in Cicycling Capital of Germany

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