All about cycling in the Netherlands
It must be the first time I show you a cycle path that does not exist anymore. Even in the Netherlands sometimes cycle tracks disappear. There was a cycle path in Utrecht that went between the central railway station and the central bus station. It really only gave access to an underground bicycle parking facility. But it was the one that I used for 16 years. So I rode that cycle path twice a day for 16 years. Until one day… it was gone. And it will never come back. The space is needed for rail road tracks of the railway station. Two narrower platforms couldn’t cope with the number of travelers anymore so the tracks are being moved sideways to widen the platforms and for that the space where the cycle path was is now used. The underground cycle parking is temporarily closed during the moving of the railroad tracks and platforms, but it will come back. The entrance will be relocated so this old underground bicycle parking can be entered from the remaining cycle routes.
The last day the cycle path was open I filmed the entire length. Since it was known for a long time that this path would be removed you can see that it was poorly maintained. The camera goes up and down with the surface. Also from a social safety point of view this was really not up to standards anymore. So will the Utrecht cyclists have to do with one less cycle path? Yes, actually they do. Since this cycle path was closed in April 2011 and subsequently removed, cyclists had to use the cycle path on the other side of the bus station. But the whole area will be redeveloped and judging from the renderings it will be a big improvement for cyclists. (Apart from a few artist’s mistakes in the design of corners.) Because all other traffic will be removed from this location and it will only be cyclists and pedestrians.
Video showing the removed cycle path and in the second half the new plans opposite the present situation.
All the area that is now in use as bus station (blue on the above map) will be turned into a station square (as it was before the 1970s). The bus station and the light rail station will be located somewhere else. In the new situation there will be an elevated square with an enormous entirely new bicycle parking facility below it. Three floors will have 12,500 bicycle parking spaces. The second half of the video shows three artist impressions* of how you will reach the square. The above map gives the places where the three impressions start. I have filmed the present situation so you can see them side by side. The whole area will be completely different and having an actual square in front of the station building is really an improvement over the current 1970s situation. But even if you look at the old pictures of the Utrecht station square (that I can still remember a bit as a child) you can see that it never was a nice area to be. So there’s hope that Utrecht finally gets a good station square relatively soon.