In October I had the pleasure to speak at the second edition of VeloFinland in Helsinki. In my presentation I gave some insights about 25 years being active in the field of cycling promotion. In the afternoon we had a nice tour in the fresh autumn weather of Helsinki.
— Herbert Tiemens (@herbert_tiemens) 1 oktober 2016
We were shown some great examples of city building, but also some small tweaks on Baana, a section I have written before. It is interesting to see how cities, not only in the Netherlands, are evolving. Today I show some examples of changes I witnessed this year.
The continues efforts to make cycling infrastructure better was also clearly shown a month later when I was in The Hague, to explore a short part of the long distance cycle route EuroVelo 12 (LF 1) between Scheveningen and Katwijk. On my way to the dunes I passed the Plesmanweg, named after the founder of the Royal Dutch Airlines Albert Plesman, witch former headquarter now houses the ministry of Infrastructure and Environment. The Plesmanweg, originally named Raamweg, was constructed as road to connect the spa Scheveningen with the city The Hague, including a tramway.
In 1968 the the road was widened tot 2×2 wide lanes, the view I knew from childhood. Later some tactical urbanism took place, by narrowing the traffic lanes and protecting cycling.
In 2015 the road lay-out was changed again, and this time more in favor of cyclists. The road was narrowed more, to give space for trees and wide elevated cycle lanes.
Treasuring this discovery I could cycle with my friend Gábor from Budapest in the dunes. Half a year earlier I had cycled with him in Budapest to see highlights of the city and discuss the political situation in both the Netherlands and Hungary. Typically the most thorough change had taken place in front of the parliament building. It was made car free and the quality of public space had improved dramatically.
In my presentation in Helsinki I showed my first small victory when I was in the local branch of Cyclist Union in 1994. It was the redesign of NS-plein in Tilburg, my hometown at that time. The plans were drawn and included (of course!) protected cycle lanes. I figured out that it was difficult for cyclists to make a left turn after the crossing. My suggestion was to shorten the curb between the car lanes and the cycle lane. Happy to see that again when I visited the city in 2013.
In 2016 not only the number of lanes to cross had risen from 3 to 5, also the angle for cyclists was sharp again, discomforting cyclists. A first world problem? Sure, but if you want encourage cycling, details matter and you should do everything possible.