BICYCLE DUTCH

All about cycling in the Netherlands

The F59 Fast Cycle Route ʼs-Hertogenbosch – Oss

The first part of the fast cycle route from ʼs-Hertogenbosch to Oss was officially opened this summer. It is named F59, after the A59, the motorway between those same cities. It is hoped people will instantly recognise where this route takes them, because they know where the A59 would take them. The first part is 8.5 kilometres long (of a route that will in total become about 21 km long) and runs from the Central Railway Station of ʼs-Hertogenbosch to the present east border of that same municipality.

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Map of the route. This post and video shows you the finished green part of the route. The blue part on the other end is also mostly finished and the red part is mostly infrastructure that has yet to be converted.

At the other end of the route, from the railway station in Oss in the direction of ʼs-Hertogenbosch, the route is also finished, at least to a large degree. Only in the smaller villages Nuland and Geffen, in the municipality of Maasdonk, there is nothing visible yet of the high-speed cycle route.

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A father and his small child on the F59 between ʼs-Hertogenbosch and Rosmalen on a Sunday afternoon ride.

When the plans were confirmed with a signature of representatives of all parties involved, in June 2013, the alderman for traffic of that smaller municipality already raised concerns about the route in his villages. He said the route would possibly have to be reconsidered. The village council of Geffen said it is against the route because they fear for the safety of road users in their village. The municipality also had problems allocating enough money for the reconstruction of existing infrastructure to meet the higher standards of a fast cycle route. These problems may soon be solved in a very unconventional way. That municipality will cease to exist, because it was considered too small by the national government. One part of its territory will go to ʼs-Hertogenbosch and another part to Oss. This measure will be effective from 1 January 2015. That may give the new authorities just enough time to build the cycle route as planned, because it should be finished by the end of 2015.

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Cycling infrastructure in The Netherlands is perfect for people of all kinds of backgrounds. From small children via racers to older people and people who need special vehicles to stay mobile. This elderly couple cycles on the F59 in Rosmalen.

When the entire high-speed cycle route is finished, there will be a direct, attractive and safe cycle route between ʼs-Hertogenbosch and Oss, which should offer a viable alternative to the motorway A59. If just a small percentage of motorists would start to use it, it would mean there will be less congestion and less air pollution, the underlying reasons to build the cycle route in the first place.

Timeline

2008 First investigation into the feasibility of a high-speed cycle route ʼs-Hertogenbosch-Oss.

2009 The national government decides to subsidise fast cycle routes and local and/or regional authorities are asked to send in plans with a subsidy request. A total sum of 21 million euro will be available. (The Fietsfilevrij project; aiming at less congestion of motorways by offering alternative high quality cycle routes.)

2010 The Province of Brabant, together with the municipalities of ʼs-Hertogenbosch, Oss and Maasdonk, apply for a subsidy for the F59.

2011 The preliminary design is finished.

2011 The National Government grants 1.3 million euro to this project.

2012 The province and the municipalities try to allocate funds for their part of the route. The total costs of 4.8 million euro will be shared as follows:

National government 1.3m
Province 2.5m (including 0.6m as a guarantee for unforeseen costs)
Municipalities 1m (all three combined).

The municipality of ʼs-Hertogenbosch will be in charge of the project.

2013 Representatives of all parties involved sign an agreement to start building the route.

2014 The first part is officially finished and opened.

2015 (1st January) The municipality of Maasdonk will cease to exist and its territory will be split between ʼs-Hertogenbosch and Oss.

2015 The full route is expected to be finished by the end of 2015.

Now what does that mean on the ground, that a fast cycle route was built?

For this particular route, the F59, it meant that existing cycle tracks were improved and that connections to the further cycle grid were made more logical. If you were to cycle the entire route that would mean you would be able to do it 15 minutes faster than before. Cycling from ʼs-Hertogenbosch to Oss or vice versa can be done in exactly one hour.

f59-01

A completely new part of the route under construction. A former T-junction of cycle ways becomes a 4 arm crossroads of cycle ways.

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The same location after the new infrastructure was finished and connected to existing cycleways. Priority is for people cycling on the fast cycle route now.

There are only a few locations where the infrastructure is completely new. East of ʼs-Hertogenbosch a new canal is being built, as a detour for a canal that runs through the city centre now. This 9 kilometre long new canal will be finished early 2015. A lot of new infrastructure around that canal had to be built and the city took the opportunity to include a new cycle bridge for the F59 in these plans, without a lot of extra costs.

The real-time version of the video is over 27 minutes long. You will find a sped-up version at the end of this post.

As the video shows, the first kilometre of the F59 through the centre of ʼs-Hertogenbosch is not its best part. It starts with a small roundabout on which people cycling have priority. This is as it should be under the guidelines that are generally considered best practice in this country (with just a few exceptions like Assen and Tilburg, most municipalities rightly choose this type of roundabout). But then there are 3 sets of traffic lights within a few hundred metres. The waiting time for the three lights combined is about 47 seconds (0, 6 and 41 seconds respectively). Also the only on-street cycle lanes are in that first kilometre. After that it gets better with cycle streets (service streets in a 30km/h zone), a large roundabout with priority (and two-way cycling around that roundabout) and an overpass to cross a large urban distributor road. We have then reached railway station ʼs-Hertogenbosch-East and from there the bi-directional cycle way, directly next to the railway line to Nijmegen, is really up to ‘fast cycle route’ standards. With only a few side streets that part is indeed very fast and we quickly pass the football stadium and a tennis court. We then arrive at a part that has been newly built. The new overpass crosses the A2 motorway and right after that there is the new bridge over the new canal named after our present queen, the “Máximakanaal”.

f59-03

Five layers of smooth asphalt form the surface of the new cycle route. Here on the new overpass to cross the A2 motorway.

After the canal is crossed we enter the former municipality of Rosmalen. This town belongs to the municipality of ʼs-Hertogenbosch since 1996. Some of the route here is new too. Existing cycle paths were better connected to form one direct route through the town. There are 3 locations here where we cross a road for motor traffic without priority. But I did not have to stop on either of the three. I filmed the video on a Sunday afternoon so that may have been the reason. These crossings were redesigned for the fast route and they can be used safely, also according to an advice of Veilig Verkeer Nederland (Safe Traffic Netherlands).

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One of the few points where the cycle route has no priority, a crossing of a road for motor traffic in Rosmalen.

Shortly after we leave Rosmalen and after a straight path of about one kilometre we reach the village of Kruisstraat, still in the municipality of ʼs-Hertogenbosch, but at its present east border.

This marks the (temporary) end of the cycle route. From here the route will be expanded on existing infrastructure that will be updated to higher standards. The video ends on a path with tiles, that must become a surface of smooth asphalt.

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From Kruisstraat to Oss the route has not yet been updated. Here, there are one way cycle tracks on either side of a minor road through a forest near Nuland.

The now finished route can already be used by a lot of people. Many children from Rosmalen go to schools in ʼs-Hertogenbosch for example. And even though the ‘fast route’ does not continue right now, it is perfectly possible to cycle further, all the way to Oss, on very good cycling infrastructure. It is just no longer up to the modern and very high Dutch standards of a ‘fast cycle route’. The only thing I miss on the present F59 is signs to indicate that it exists at all. The motorway A59 has signs and also the F35 fast cycle route in Twente has signage, I think the cycleway F59 should have signs too.

The sped-up version of the ride on the F59 from ʼs-Hertogenbosch to Kruisstraat, the temporary end of the high-speed cycle route to Oss.

21 comments on “The F59 Fast Cycle Route ʼs-Hertogenbosch – Oss

  1. Robert
    10 June 2015

    LA could easily wipe out half of the congestion with bicycle infrastructure by taking just 1 motor vehicle lane per direction out and assuming the widths are the LA standard they could put in a 2.5 metre wide cycle track for one way cycling on each side of the street and a 1.2 metre wide curb between the cycle track and the motor vehicle lanes. With priority for the cyclists at the minor side streets and protected intersections/roundabouts with priority for cyclists at the intersections with similarly sized or larger roads. Removing the stop signs and signposting and traffic calming the quieter parallel roads is a good way to get lots of people cycling very quickly with fewer claims of congestion and other problems that often lead to cyclist projects getting shelved. Of course bike boulevards are useless without good cycle infrastructure, and I do not mean sharrows on a busy arterial, I mean curb protected cycle tracks and protected intersections/minor side street crossings on the roads with the destinations and homes. How can you use a bike boulevard for 90% of your journey but for the 10% of the rest you have to cycle on a busy arterial without even sharrows? And of course high quality cycle infrastructure can only go so far. Rotterdam has a good network of high quality cycle paths that go everywhere, but they have dual carriageways with 4 lanes+turn lanes on roads other Dutch cities would never consider putting divided roads on. They only have 25% of people on bicycles. This is of course very high for any other country, but it is below Dutch average. Unraveling routes and making roads smaller believe it or not is the key to making Rotterdam’s roads and any other cities’ roads with four lanes per direction through the city centre and everywhere else more attractive for cyclists, maybe pushing it up to closer to the Dutch average for urban areas, about 35% or more. Copenhagen has a lot of cycle tracks and while they lack the protected intersection it is still better than the US, but they only have about 27% of people on bicycles, the Dutch average for combined urban and rural areas, and the latter have less cycling, but it still has wide roads for motor traffic and not enough unraveling bike routes.

  2. Kurt G.
    12 December 2014

    Hello Mark! I have been a fan and follower of your blog and videos for some time, but this is the first time I have commented! :o)
    I completly agree with the comments of Geoffrone, yes the numbering system does seem simular to the system we have here in the UK, but the simularity ends there! I live near Bristol, where the first british ‘major’ cyclepath was built to Bath, and today it is quite well used with good numbers of cyclists using it (by British standards).

    But nothing near as superb as infrastructure in the Netherlands! This F59 route is a prime example of just how high the standards are for cyclists in the Netherlands, also reflecting just how seriously and committed government authorities are in the Netherlands to satisfying the demands and needs of the nations cyclists! If only that was anywhere near true for the UK, even around a so called ‘bike city’ like Bristol (which I personally do not rate as having good infrastructure).

    As this superb video demonstrates so clearly yet again, every concivable detail has been satisfied for dutch cyclists, be it super smooth surfaces, dividing fencing, clear signage and markings, street lighting, and attractivness generally, to name but a few. Although this F59 is relativaly new, I have no doubt that it will be equally well MAINTAINED (something that authorities generally seem to be quite poor at in the UK) and kept clean of litter or vandelism.

    A great route serving the s-bosch rurals towards Oss!

    (I’m part dutch, a keen daily cyclist, and big fan of NL generally – yet to my shame I have never cycled in NL!! This is yet another great video that inspires me to do so next year!

  3. Dennis Hindman
    29 November 2014

    My reference point for how to integrate bicycling and transit onto a constricted space of a street is frequently the videos from this website.

    This and other videos here point out distinct differences between road design in the U.S. and the Netherlands. Not many traffic signals, no on-street parking and few intersections along major streets is quite different in a Dutch city than for most arterial streets in Los Angeles. There are a few major streets in LA that used to have street cars running down the middle of them. This reduced the amount of small side streets that cross due to the median for the streetcars. That design is retained on some portions of these streets.

    One of the most radical changes to the way a street functions in Los Angeles will be to Van Nuys Blvd if any of the currently proposed build alternatives go through for installing a new transit line down the middle of it. There are now 80 intersections along this proposed 9.2 mile project. That’s an average of about 185 meters (607 feet) apart.

    Almost all of the on-street parking would be removed (that in itself is extremely radical) and on most of the smaller side streets that intersect it drivers will not be able to go straight or turn left. Some of the major streets that intersect this project will also have turning restrictions.

    These are such major changes that it ultimately may not be politically acceptable. The deciding factors will probably come down to how much funds are available for it and if this can attract enough new transit riders to offset the loss of throughput for drivers and loss of parking.

    Now if the decision makers on this project can accept minimum widths in order to fit in bike lanes. If not, there won’t be any room to install bike lanes for the foreseeable future. That’s a big problem when bike lanes are considered something that’s added on if there is room left over rather than an integral part of transportation along a corridor. A frequent excuse is maybe we can find another street for bicycling instead of this one. To me there’s no better time than to try and squeeze in bike lanes on the coattails of a large street project.

  4. midtoad
    29 November 2014

    at 2:30 in the video you appear to be riding against traffic. Is this the correct way to go, or are you taking a shortcut? Or is there a lack of a bike path going in the correct direction in this area?

    • bicycledutch
      29 November 2014

      This is the correct way. It’s one way for motortraffic only. There is also a service street on the other side of the street. Also 2 way for cycling. But this way is where the main cycle way goes.

  5. Kevin Love
    29 November 2014

    Dennis wrote:

    “General funds for the Los Angeles city government have shrunk considerably because of the recession… The requests for sidewalk repair (an estimated 40% are in bad shape) would take 75 years to complete. Sidewalks in older parts of the city are stamped with dates from the 1920’s and 1930’s.”

    Kevin’s comment:

    As I recall, there was a bit of an economic turndown in the 1930’s as well. Yet that did not stop sidewalk construction. Perhaps it is not about the economy, but the willingness to build and repair necessary infrastructure.

    • Dennis Hindman
      29 November 2014

      In the 1930’s, the U.S. federal government pumped large amounts of money into the economy with construction jobs under the Works Progress Administration (WPA). Ultimately, massive amounts of spending by the federal government during WWII ended the Great Depression.

      The current Republican Party has the viewpoint that the federal government needs to cut back on spending during this recession and in the recent last election they became the majority of both Houses of Congress. The reduction in transportation infrastructure funds by the federal government is why cities are finding that more of the money for infrastructure has to come from local funds. Obviously, the current state of repair on the sidewalks in Los Angeles goes back a lot further than the current recession since there are still many sidewalks all over the city stamped with dates from the 1920’s and 1930’s. Perhaps half the bicycle riding in Los Angeles is on the sidewalks since that is legal is this city and it seems a safer place to ride than on the streets to many people.

      But your right, how the sidewalks got in such bad shape was the unwillingness of the government in Los Angeles to do the repairs over many years. There has been some recent minor progress on that, but the condition of streets and sidewalks have deteriorated so much that it will take years and billions of dollars to rectify the situation.

      Bureau of Streets Services, the LA city department that takes care of the streets, estimates that regardless of the amount of money received it would take them 10 years to get the streets into a average grade B level from its current average grade of C. Portland has the highest bicycling rate of any large city in the U.S. That city is going to ask voters for a tax increase to improve the condition of streets–which are at the same average grade level as streets in Los Angeles. Deplorable street conditions extends further than just those two cities, Ray LaHood, the previous head of the federal department of transportation said in 2013 that America was one big pothole.

      Most of the rest of bicycle riding in Los Angeles that is not on the sidewalks is on the streets. An example of what the condition of a roadway can be in is on the arterial street Lankershim Blvd, in Los Angeles, about three miles north of where I live there are bike lanes that were installed in the last year along a section of the road that has cracking so deep and wide spread that its difficult to even ride on it without weaving around the worst parts of it.

      • opaangell
        29 November 2014

        “The current Republican Party has the viewpoint that the federal government needs to cut back on spending during this recession and in the recent last election they became the majority of both Houses of Congress.”

        The city council and mayor of LA have been dominated by Democrats for a long time. The California assembly has been Democrat since the 60’s except for two years. Governors of California have largely been Democrats. Democrats have held the U.S. Senate since 2007, The presidency since 2009, and for the first two years of Obama’s presidency held the House, Senate, and Presidency.

        If you want to blame any of LA’s problems on Republicans I think your angst is quite misplaced.

        • opaangell
          29 November 2014

          If you look across the U.S., successes in bicycling infrastructure have been somewhat evenly split between the two parties and opposition to good infrastructure has also come equally from both parties. Neither party is good or bad.

          Falsely making bicycling infrastructure a partisan issue is a way to sure failure.

          If you want good infrastructure you need to lobby individuals from both parties equally and you need to educate your neighbors and others in your community about the benefits of bicycling for transportation.

  6. geoffrone
    28 November 2014

    It is interesting that the Dutch Route Numbering system is similar to that used in the UK – the cycle route number follows that of the motorway. In the UK NCN (National Cycle Network) Route 4 is in theory the cycling equivalent to the M4. Sadly, that is where the similarity ends. I’m (as always) jealous.

  7. Dennis Hindman
    28 November 2014

    If taxes used for each type of transportation comes mainly out of a general fund in the Netherlands and implemented by each city, then how is it that no form of transportation seems to get favored over another?

    General funds for the Los Angeles city government have shrunk considerably because of the recession and there have been cutbacks in the number of city workers and services. Most of the transportation construction and repairs is coming from earmarked funds. The exception is staffing which comes from general funds.

    The requests for sidewalk repair (an estimated 40% are in bad shape) would take 75 years to complete. Sidewalks in older parts of the city are stamped with dates from the 1920’s and 1930’s. There are areas of the city where tree roots have cracked and moved sections of the sidewalk up more than a foot. The reason for that is that the city decided they did not have enough money to repair all of the sidewalks and its the property owner that is supposed to be responsible for keeping the sidewalk in good condition by law unless its tree damage which is the city’s responsibility. When the federal gave money that was earmarked for sidewalk repairs in the early 1970’s, the city did do more repairs, but that stopped once the money ran out.

    Streets and highway repairs are partially funded from motor fuel taxes but that has been shrinking over the years because its a flat tax at the federal level that does not keep up with inflation. A shrinking portion of the retail price of motor fuels is taxes.

    The Los Angeles county (population 10 million) Metro transit agency has a budget of $5.4 billion for fiscal year 2015 (In 2005 it was $2.9 billion). Forty one percent of that is for capital improvements for transit and highways. The bus and train maintenance budget of that is $295 million. Only $16.5 million, or 3/10th of 1% of that total budget is for bicycling. In spite of this, bicycling has gained a greater percent increase of commuters from 2005 to 2013 than transit has in the city of Los Angeles and has matched it for the county.

    A half cent sales tax that was approved by voters in 2008 that was mainly for highway and transit improvements is a big reason for the increase in funding. The federal government is providing a good portion of the funds for the construction projects in addition to the two half cent sales taxes that were passed by voters previously (a fourth half-cent countywide sales tax for transportation improvements narrowly missed approval by voters in 2012).

    All of the existing transit rail lines installed since 1990 are due to these sales taxes (there are now two subway lines and four light-rail lines with five rail transit lines or extensions under construction). These funds have enabled the transit buses and trains to be kept in good repair. Even though much of the roads on which the buses travel are not.

    New York City and Chicago are struggling to find enough funding to just maintain their transit system, let alone do new construction. Los Angeles county Metro has been able to not only keep the transit in good condition but also to do large construction projects with the three half cent sales taxes and also have some of the lowest ticket prices in the nation.

    According to the fiscal year 2015 LA county Metro budget report, in the 4,057 square miles of the county of Los Angeles which has a population of 10 million people, the bicycle infrastructure consists of:

    4.2 miles of cycle track
    522 miles of bike routes–which is just signs or sharrow markings on the road
    836 miles of bike lanes
    305 miles of bike paths

    • g127
      30 November 2014

      “If taxes used for each type of transportation comes mainly out of a general fund in the Netherlands and implemented by each city, then how is it that no form of transportation seems to get favored over another?”

      People in the Netherlands generally don’t identify with their means of transport. For example: i use my bike to go to work, but when I have a project that is to far I will use my car and think nothing of it. A lot of people outside the Netherlands think the country has a cycling culture: it really does not. It doesn’t have a car culture either. People just use the most efficient (and cheap) means of getting from a to b. The USA has far more of cycling culture: if you cycle you’re often part of an ingroup with it’s own norms: (you also have a real car culture; the idea of ‘road-trips’ just for fun is quite alien to most Dutch people.)

      This is a lot of introduction to a simple answer: in the US (is assume)train people want streetcars, car-people demand good roads and bike-people demand bike-path. Most people in the Netherlands want to have the choice to use whaterver means of transport they like a certain given moment. (not to mention: even people that hate cycling have children that go to school on a bike; that’s a big incentive to want good infrastructure.) SInce basically everyone wants both good bike-paths and good roads you can just finance it from general funds.

  8. paulc
    28 November 2014

    are those plastic armadillos at 1:23? They look deadly if you’re trying to overtake a slower bicycle who’s wobbling all over the place… plus the kerb for the pavement at that bridge is not forgiving either… seriously reduces the effective width.

    • bicycledutch
      28 November 2014

      Yes that is crappy infrastructure. But then that bridge was built in the 1930s and that cycle lane has been there since that time. There were no forgiving kerbs in those days yet. The armadillos are a later addition and really not such a problem. As you can see there was a wobbly cyclist, with a wide bag too, and I had no problem overtaking him. The width is not up to the latest standards but it is wide enough for overtaking. Things may change soon there though. Most of the traffic will be diverted from this road to a new road (that’s under construction), further away from the city centre on the other side of the rail road tracks (which are to the left there).

  9. Chris
    27 November 2014

    After visiting about 13 Dutch cities including Groningen and Zwolle (both cycling cities of 2002 and 2014, respectively), I still think Den Bosch is still the most bike-friendly.

  10. Dennis Hindman
    27 November 2014

    Here’s some of the differences that I notice compared to Los Angeles.

    There are no telephone poles in the video. Most of the LA area is still using that 19th century way of stringing telephone or cable TV wire.

    There’s much less signs compared to LA.

    The heavy rail train has overhead electrical catenary wires. Heavy rail transit in the LA area is diesel powered (tracks shared with freight trains) or else in a subway powered by a third rail on the ground.

    There is much more open public space (it looks very rural) than in LA. The Los Angeles metropolitan area is the most densely populated in the U.S. (New York City has a denser core, but is much less densely populated in the suburbs).

    Los Angeles also has the second least amount of motor vehicle lanes per capita of any metropolitan area in the U.S. with only Honolulu having less. That’s mainly why Los Angeles or Honolulu usually gets named the most congested city in the U.S.

    People living in LA frequently use the excuse that Los Angeles is so spread out that you need a car to get anywhere. Yet, Los Angeles area residents drive less than the average metropolitan area in the U.S.

    The westside of Los Angeles is notorious for having the most congested streets in Los Angeles, yet the residents in that area reported to the Census Bureau in 2012 some of the lowest commute times in Los Angeles (obviously the distance driving to work there has to be shorter than most other areas that mostly drive).

    What gets people excited to tax themselves for transportation improvements in Los Angeles is big, shiny sexy projects such as trains. Bicycle paths are built alongside those railroad right-of-ways, or waterways, if there is enough room left over. It always seems to come down to whether there is enough extra space left over for bikeways in the U.S. That has to do with bicycling having less than 2% share of transportation in most cities in the U.S.

    The few traffic signals that you had to bicycle through still stuns me as it has in all the other videos. Also, the amount of delay for a bicycle rider at a traffic signal is usually much less than in Los Angeles.

    Los Angeles uses stop signs at most intersections that do not have traffic signals. This and having to stop at every intersection when cycling along a bike path next to a street makes riding along a street in mixed traffic the fastest way to get somewhere on a bicycle–if you have the courage to do this.

    I’ve noticed that the traffic engineers in Los Angeles seem to count the number of objects at an intersection to make their determination on who gets priority.

    Pedestrians and bicycles are not counted–so they never get priority. If a light-rail train or bus rapid transit is separated from mixed traffic and has 70 people on board versus 20 motor vehicles, then the traffic on the street gets priority and the train or bus will likely have to stop. The reason is that only on-street traffic can get congested and one of the traffic engineers primary objectives (besides safety) is to try and prevent traffic congestion.

    No parking along the arterial streets in the video. Los Angeles (as is common in U.S. cities) allows motor vehicle parking on most of its arterial streets. Some of the most densely populated areas in the center core of Los Angeles doesn’t have parking on arterial streets during peak hours only. Then to exacerbate the problem some city council members create parking by permit only on some residential streets because of homeowners complaints.

    The next step that is happening is curbside bus only lanes during peak hours only along Wilshire Blvd (which runs through the most densely populated areas of LA). That’s a huge glacially slow move towards having separation for transit and hopefully bicycling on some of the most traffic congested streets in Los Angeles. The reason that is occurring is that most of the money is coming from the federal government and will be monitored by the feds to see what the outcome is. When it came down to the local politicians approving the implementation of it some of them got cold feet and wanted to back out–those representing the west side. If this creates more transit users along this corridor than there is loss of throughput for cars, then this might encourage more of this reallocation of space.

    Tough to make that argument for bicycle only lanes since its not a equal exchange of use with far less bicycle riders than drivers or bus riders. Bicycle riders are mainly going to be relegated to residential streets in the most congested areas of the city or share the bus only lanes as they do in Paris.

    If its a diesel powered transit train, then it gets to go through intersections at 50 mph in Los Angeles without having to stop. Crossing gates are lowered, flashing lights are displayed and a clanging bell sound warns people of the approaching train. I believe that happens due to a law. If it was up to the traffic engineers, then the train would have to stop because it would cause traffic congestion at some of the intersections.

    The fencing next to the rail line is what is in common for this area of the Netherlands and Los Angeles.

    The width of the bike path and the colored asphalt also is quite different than anything in LA or the U.S. for that matter. Bicycling is the only form of transportation in the U.S. that people are asked to travel single file and usually where parked car doors can swing out in front of them (that’s where most of the left over space for bike lanes is located).

    Mark, your videos and David Hembrows’ blog A View From The Cycle Path have helped educate me on how transportation infrastructure design (especially bicycling) in the Netherlands are often better than in the U.S. Your videos were a big help in getting me to think creatively about how to get bike lanes included for the upcoming Van Nuys Blvd transit improvement project in Los Angeles.

    The project team claimed that they spend months trying to figure out how to include bicycle lanes, but ultimately they removed any trace of them from the latest plans and instead show bicycle sharing the 35 mph mixed use motor vehicle lanes or else bicycles sharing the bus only lanes. They show sharrow markings placed along the roads and call this enhanced bicycling.

    I spent several days hunting down the minimum requirements for each mode of transportation and found that bike lanes could indeed fit, whether in the street next to the curb or grade separated next to the sidewalk. This could be done without reducing the throughput of the other modes of transportation.

    • andreengels
      27 November 2014

      Some reactions to your comparisons:

      Rural aspect: Remember that this is a city about 50 times smaller than Los Angeles. The first part is in the city center, but much of the film is in what can only be called suburbs, and the last part actually _is_ in the rural parts outside the city.

      Priority: In the Netherlands the rule is that through roads have priority over side roads. The big difference being of course that in the Netherlands roads that are through roads for bicycles but residential roads for motor vehicles are considered through roads for this purpose – although they usually have to give way to motor vehicle arterials, they have priority over other non-arterial roads. And when cyclists do not have priority over minor roads, the priority is ‘default’, which means priority for the vehicle coming from the right, whether that is a car or a bicycle.

      Parking on arterial roads: This is indeed usually not allowed in NL. Originally it probably was instated as a safety feature – an important part of Dutch safety policy is to avoid speed differences, and the speed difference between a parking car and a car driving on an arterial road is large. But for that same reason it also is a very effective means of reducing congestion: with no cars holding up others for parking, and a diminished number of such cases at side roads, cars can hold on to a moderately fast speed much more than would otherwise be the case. Areas with parking for people with permits only are quite common in the Netherlands.

      Trains at intersections: This is quite similar to the Netherlands, trains will have priority always and everywhere, and gates, lights and sounds will ensure that. Both for safety (people trying to drive or cycle through at the last moment) and to avoid holding up traffic, they are often replaced by grade separated crossings, in particular on lines with much rail traffic.

      • Dennis Hindman
        28 November 2014

        Thanks for your response Endre.

        A big problem with transportation in Los Angeles (besides giving separate space/priority to transit and bicycles) is funding. Taxes on motor fuel are decreasing as a percent of the retail price and the federal government is providing much less money. Which means that more of the money will have to come from local sources to keep transportation infrastructure from deteriorating further than the bad shape its already in across the U.S.

        More than 2/3 of Los Angeles county voters approved an additional half cent sales tax for mostly highway and transit projects (already have two other 1/2 sales taxes for transportation that were passed previously and still in effect). Most of the funds for bike lanes installed since then in the city of Los Angeles is from that tax revenue–which currently provides $2.1 million annually for bicycle infrastructure improvements on streets. That doesn’t sound like much, but it is considerably more than it was previous to that. The city went from installing an average 6-8 miles of bike lanes to installing 40+ miles annually mainly because of these funds.

        There are five separate billion dollar+ rail transit projects under construction in Los Angeles county at the moment. Its the biggest public works project in the entire country. When those rail projects open up the rate of bicycling will increase because bikes are allowed on transit rail during peak commute hours and Metro is providing space for bicycle storage on the trains. There was a 42% increase in bicycle boarding’s at transit rail stations in 2013 mainly due to the additional bike lanes installed.

        Two of the eight freeways in the city of Los Angeles have some lanes that got tolled in 2012. It was expected that there would be 100,000 transponders sold for motor vehicles to drive in these lanes and instead 259,000 were issued. This brought in $18 million, far surpassing the expected $10 million. This was used to boost transit use–which increased by as much as 27% in the immediate area. Some of that money funds pedestrian and bicycle improvement projects. The city of Los Angeles will start a bicycle sharing system in downtown that will be partially funded with this money. Metro is studying whether to add toll lanes to more freeways since this program was deemed a success in reducing congestion.

        Another potential upcoming source of revenue for bicycles is from the green house gas emission tax that will go into effect in California. Part of that money could be used for bicycle infrastructure.

        In Los Angeles, what’s created a 20% jump in bicycle commuting in the last two years is the simple act of creating separate space for bicycling without getting the politicians upset enough that they want to cut back on it. Striping the road is the simplest and fastest way to gain space. If it involved construction for bicycling on the streets, then the drivers could get even more upset that the city is spending that much money on a few bicycle riders when the roads are not in very good condition.

        • andreengels
          28 November 2014

          In the Netherlands there is much less connection between specific sources of funding and what the money is being used for. Most money for municipalities comes from the ‘Gemeentefonds’, a lump sum financing from the national government. There are also local taxes, most importantly the realty tax, but also dog tax and precario tax (which is tax for having objects on public property, for example pub terraces and shop signs). All of these go into the general finances, and most things are paid from these general finances. Some money does come earmarked, but that’s a minority. In the case of infrastructure, ‘normal’ things have to be paid out of the general finances, large projects are often co-financed, which means that municipalities involved and the state, often also the province, sometimes also private parties, all pay a part.

  11. Theo van Soest
    27 November 2014

    Are there plans to continue the “green line” alongside the railroad?

    • bicycledutch
      27 November 2014

      Not in the plans I have seen. But that may have to do with the priorities of that smaller municipality that will soon cease to exist. That area will become the territory of the municipality of ‘s-Hertogenbosch. There is now a sandy path that could – in my opinion – easily be changed into a cycle path. The first deviation from the rail road line in red on that map would then not be necessary and the route could be straightened all the way to Nuland. Maybe wishfull thinking on my part, but it would of course be better.

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This entry was posted on 27 November 2014 by in Original posts and tagged , , , , .

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