Why are we still waiting?

When you want to see a lot of people cycling at the same time, it’s always good to go to one of Utrecht’s conflict points. This time I went back to the main south entrance of the historic city centre where traffic lights, favouring the endless stream of buses to and from the University, cause a traffic jam for cycling twice a day.

People cycling on Ledig Erf in Utrecht during the afternoon rush hour in the summer of 2017.
No less than 32 of these double-articulated buses pass here every hour. No wonder ever more people have to wait for the lights, when they want to pass here on their bicycles.

It’s the short post week and after last week’s very long post, I will now have a slightly shorter post to even things out. But I will show a lot of people cycling in the video! The intersection I filmed is notorious for the long waits at the traffic lights. The main cycle routes from the south to the city centre cross the main bus routes to and from the University here. Especially bus line 12, carrying around 25,000 passengers per day and running 16 times per hour in both directions (from 8am to 6pm), with mostly double-articulated buses, is creating a huge barrier here. Already in 2014, there was a protest and the lights had been adjusted from two minutes of red time for cylcing to a far shorter red time. However, they are inadequate again for the enormous traffic flows that collide here. This problem can only be solved with big measures. One of the traffic flows will have to go. Fortunately, the buses will be the ones to go!

The current bus line 12 takes a shorter route than the future light-rail tram line will. But the tram can drive at 70 km/h in that detour and will be a quicker alternative than the bus. The current bus route will become a lot quieter with most of the buses gone. Hopefully the current cycle traffic jams will disappear with the buses of line 12.
The light-rail tracks under construction, earlier this year. This part of the route runs parallel to the railway.
At the future station Kromme Rijn on Weg tot de Wetenschap, the tram tracks in the grass seem almost finished.

The alternative for bus line 12 is currently under construction and it has been for quite some years, but there is real progress now. The light-rail tracks for the new Utrecht light-rail tram line are being built all over the 8 kilometre long route. Once this tram line to the University starts to operate, in the second half of 2018, the busiest bus line crossing this location will cease to exist. With most of the buses gone, a good solution for this problem intersection should be found. When there is only a flow of private motor vehicles that crosses a flow of cycling, Utrecht has vowed (and demonstrated) to favour the latter. That can only mean the daily cycle traffic jams with the long delays will end. Another year perhaps, but then it should be over. I can’t wait!

A quick reminder of why it is a brilliant idea to separate completely different types of traffic in space and time at very busy locations such as this intersection.

This week’s video shows the summer evening rush hour at Ledig Erf in Utrecht.


4 thoughts on “Why are we still waiting?

  1. On top of the long waiting times, Ledig Erf is one of the most complicated crossings I encounter in Utrecht, both as a cyclist and as a pedestrian. There are a lot of conflicts built in the current design for cyclist on cyclist collisions. You have to have a superb situational awareness or a lot of experience to navigate the crossing without incident. I hope the entire area crossing gets a full do-over when the busses are gone.

  2. I hope they will redefine the public space at Bleekstraat, Catharijnesingel, Ledig Erf, Tolsteegsingel and Abstederdijk after the lightrail is in use.

  3. Mark, excellent video and explanation of present and future cycling circumstances at Ledig Erf. And very good choice of jazzy guidance for the easy going cyclists. André

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.