When the “RijnWaalpad” (the fast cycle route between Nijmegen and Arnhem) was opened in 2015, it wasn’t entirely finished. Some things that needed to be done at the time have since been taken care of. The finishing touches shortened the route by half a kilometre. Time to pay the fast cycle route between the Rhine and the Waal rivers another visit.
The RijnWaalpad offers a viable alternative to people who do not (always) want to drive the distance from Arnhem or Nijmegen to their work or other activities they may want to go to, somewhere between those two cities. The RijnWaalpad decreased the cycle distance between the two cities from 17.7 km to 15.8 km for a total cost of 17 million euros. Some of that distance was taken off the route after it was officially opened. I have two examples of how that was done in this post. Some people had concerns about this shorter route though. The new route follows the A325 motorway closely and people worried that this route might have more polluted air, that you would breathe in, because it is so close to such a big road. The province of Gelderland had this investigated. Focusing on ultra-fine particles, black carbon and nitrogen dioxide, the conclusion was that this is not the case. In fact, the air quality on the new route is even slightly better than it was on the old route via Elst.
Since I filmed the fast cycle route, in September 2015, the F325 has become half a kilometre shorter. The first 250 metres were gained in the most northern tip of Nijmegen, where the route went around the building site of the then future cinema. Now the cinema was finished, the route takes you directly past it and in front of it. This way you also get to a Grand Café that you could use if you were to cycle past here on a recreational ride. At least I wouldn’t stop for a drink in a café if this were my commute, but some may even do that. The route around the back of the cinema was 250 metres longer than the new route that passes in front of the building.
The second 250 metres were taken off the total distance near Kattenleger, at the border of Elst and Ressen, where an underpass was built in the motor traffic access ramp to the A325. In 2015 people still had to go all the way to the end of this access ramp, to where the road was on ground level again. There you had to cross the road and pay very good attention to the fast-moving cars. After which you then had to go back to where you had started, but now at the other side of the road. That strange detour was meant to be temporary. In my previous post, Sjors van Duren, who was the project leader at the time, said: “Some things still need to be finished. The last underpass at Kattenleger is scheduled to be built at the end of this year, depending on the availability of the contractor. With that underpass we’ll get rid of a strange short detour.” I don’t know whether the tunnel was indeed built at the end of 2015 or maybe later, I do know it is finished now and it feels like a much more natural route than before!
With this extra half kilometre that the route has been shortened, the fast cycle route has become even faster and thus even more attractive to use. The Province of Gelderland was kind enough to write on the website of the fast cycle route program what their motives to build these routes are (and in English).
In the past 10 years the car mobility in the region Arnhem – Nijmegen has increased by over 25%. It is expected that this growth will continue to persist until 2040. Until 2017 a lot is invested in the network of main roads. […] This will lead to an increase in car traffic. In addition, we will see an increase of short journeys within the region, between 5 and 20 kilometres. The number of short journeys will also increase after 2020. […]
By focusing cleverly on cycling, Gelderland may offer motorists an alternative for the car at distances up to 20 kilometres. With the rise of the electronic bike the cycling speed, and therefore also the cycling distance, has increased. Therefore, cycling may contribute to the accessibility and attractiveness of the region. In addition, the bicycle is pre-eminently a sustainable means of transport:
- it has no CO2 emissions
- it takes up little space, both while riding but also when parked
- it is healthy for the user.
By focusing on three main cornerstones the province of Gelderland wants to enhance the use of bicycles in the region even further. These three cornerstones are:
- more fast cycling routes: by constructing comfortable, attractive and fast routes motorists are invited to take up cycling.
- chain mobility: it has to be easy to change from one mode of transport to another. For instance, from the bicycle to the train.
- mobility management: by influencing the travel behaviour of commuters traffic, problems may be avoided.
Things have changed in Nijmegen-North. First some new buildings in a before and after and then the different way the RijnWaalpad cycleway is led around the cinema.
The Kattenleger bicycle underpass in the RijnWaalpad.