A quiet junction in Utrecht (Netherlands)

Two videos to explain why a junction in Utrecht in the Netherlands is such a quiet junction, so pleasant for people cycling.

Non-stop relaxed cycling, Utrecht Netherlands

A bicycle friendly junction in the historic city center of Utrecht in the Netherlands. A main hub for cyclists going to the city shopping center and back to its suburbs. It is actually a bridge with a junction on either side. Cars are discouraged to use this bridge. For motorized traffic almost all the streets are cul-de-sac streets. The result is a friendly junction with large numbers of cyclists that weave in a very relaxed way. Note that hardly anyone ever stops. The cycling really is non-stop.

Mistakes are made every now and then (there is even a near collision between a car and a child on a bike in the video) but mostly all traffic flows very well.

Non-stop relaxed cycling

Background information

A motorway was planned on this very spot in the 1950s and 60s. When building for that road began, there were increasing protests against it and all the demolitions that went with it. The opposition became so strong, that in the 1970s the works were stopped and the road was never finished. Building was stopped just before this area was reached. That is why the bridge stayed as it was.

Since then motorized traffic was diverted and it has decreased so much that even this 1930s bridge became too wide. Half of the bridge is now side walk. The other half is mainly used by bicycles. Cars driving here really have to be in the area.

The unfinished city ring road never really served a purpose. It took the city 30 years to realize that it was best to reverse the situation. After bringing the water back to a place where the road was never built (there the old city moat had been a parking lot for 30 years) it was clear to everybody that this was really what should be done. It took yet another 10 years for the works to start to bring back all the water. Soon the 1970s inner city ring road that should never have been built in the first place will be completely removed.

Background information

2 thoughts on “A quiet junction in Utrecht (Netherlands)

  1. At 6:23 in the first video a bicycle and a VW car almost occupied the same space at the same time. I wonder who was at fault.

    1. They were both at fault. Both wanted to go straight on. But both were too far in the middle, so they approach each other head on. The person cycling even choses to pass on the left, that’s how far both were off course. Had there been a crash, the driver of the motor vehicle would have been liable for damage. But thanks to the low speeds at such locations there was enough time to solve this conflict in a better way.

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