Friday, November 8, 2013

Your [Dutch] Environment of the Week

Where we're going, we don't need bike lanes.

In most cities, cycling infrastructure isn't much more than a few dotted lines on the road.  But that's not how it is in the Netherlands, one of the world's most cycle-friendly nations.  Dutch cities have dedicated lanes that separate cars and bikes, making cycling an activity for the young and old, male and female, no longer just the adventurous few.

One of the newest examples of this is the elegant circular bridge in Eindhoven, located in southern Holland.Called the Hovernring, it lets cyclists completely avoid vehicular traffic and cross the busy A2 highway with minimal fuss.  It also makes for better road flow, according to Gerhard Nijenhuis, an employee at IPV Delft, the firm that designed it.

"This way you avoid congestion, because the other traffic doesn't wait for the cyclists to pass" he says.

The Hovenring is 236 feet in diameter and is suspended off the ground using a 230-foot central pylon and 24 thick cables.  It opened in the summer of 2012 and at the cost of about $16 million dollars, it isn't cheap.  But it is already a well-known landmark.  The city argues that it is the sort of project that helps broaden cycling's appeal.  "If you give cyclists ways to go long distances, then you pull people out of their cars, and stimulate cycling," Nijenhuis says.

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