Sunday, April 10, 2011

The Public transport and priority to pedestrians and bicycles as a basis for the quality of life in capital cities

 GENERAL ASSEMBLY OF UCUE, Lisboa, 27th of September 2002

Amsterdam is a city of bicycles. And the local government not only wants to keep it that way, it wants to
further enhance the status of the bicycle. Ever since its Traffic Circulation Plan was drawn up in 1979, the City of Amsterdam has pursued an active pro-cycling policy. Moreover, government at the national and regional levels and other organisations are also working to develop cycling policy.
But cycling cannot be regarded separately from other aspects of mobility policy, such as motor vehicles and public transport. The decline in the number of parking spaces in central Amsterdam, the increase in parking fees and the expansion of the area in which they are levied will create more room for essential car travel. The bicycle is going to have to become a realistic alternative, particularly for non-essential car journeys over shorter distances.
Alongside utilitarian use of the bicycle, walking and cycling remain the principal recreational activities enjoyed by the Dutch population. When it comes to routes, three-quarters of people prefer a scenic alternative to a boring, unattractive one. They also prefer small patches of green space close to home rather than more extensive natural areas further away.
Good connections allowing people to reach the countryside easily from their homes are therefore essential, but so too are quiet green or waterside routes in the city itself. In addition, a policy to encourage long-distance walking is a priority in Amsterdam. The emphasis in that is upon rural, sometimes unmetalled routes on the edge of and outside the city.
The interests of walkers and pedestrians are strongly promoted in policy documents. The target is to create pedestrian-only "lanes" of 1.50 metres wide in the historic city centre and 3.00 metres wide in the surrounding districts. In order to guarantee their place in the city, a so-called "pedestrian norm" of 3.50 metres is aimed for when designing or reprofiling streets. Certainly in busy shopping streets, this standard acts as a counterweight to the existing demands of other road users such as cyclists, motorists and trams.

Cycling in Copenhagen, by Canadian Veggie
more about bicycle planning in Europe:

On Amsterdam, bikes and the Copenhagen Wheel thingy

Making Transportation Sustainable: Insights from Germany

Reality Proves a Setback for Parisian Bike Rentals

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