Shortening the fast cycle route Arnhem-Nijmegen

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 Kattenleger cycle underpass makes the F325 RijnWaalpad fast cycle route 250 metres shorter. It also means one fewer crossing with motor traffic.

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.

The red line represents the initial route left around the cinema of Nijmegen when it was under construction. That red line is 250 metres longer than the green line which represents the current and definitive route passing right and in front of the cinema.
In 2015 there was a left turn near the buidling of the cinema that was under construction. Now there is a right turn in front of the finished building.

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.

When the cycle route was officially opened in 2015 there was this red 300 metre long detour to get to the other side of the access ramp to the A325 on the left hand side of this picture. Nowadays there is an underpass that makes passing the access ramp possible in a perfectly straight 50-metre-long line. The difference is 250 metres.
The typical light-fixtures of the F325 RijnWaalpad stand out in the country side. In the distance the underpass that makes going straight through the access ramp possible.

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!

The new part of the cycle route near the cinema in Nijmegen north. On the left of this cycleway that cinema on the right hand side a grand café.

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.

11 thoughts on “Shortening the fast cycle route Arnhem-Nijmegen

  1. Fast cycling routes, cycle highways is terminology used for new bicycle infrastructure. I think a lot of people associate this with speed and danger especially outside the Netherlands. But it is about the shorter routes, less distance and safety. So can we find other words for cycling highways?

  2. Regarding the claim that the bicycle has no CO2 emissions, that’s what riders breathe out. There is so much focus on carbon dioxide emissions, not on carbon monoxide, hydrocarbon, nitrogenous oxide or sulphur dioxide emissions.

    But anyway, unassisted bikes also don’t have batteries and those of electrically assisted ones are smaller and lighter than those of battery electric vehicles (such as electric cars), I’m not sure if they also last longer.

    1. You are right. But for comparison:

      – An efficient car emits about 100 gram CO2 per kilometer driven.
      – A human cycling emits about 10 gram CO2 per kilometer (

      However, all of the human emission is from ‘green’ sources. Humans are powered by plants (or by meat that was fed by plants), which have recently taken this CO2 from the atmosphere to grow themselves. This means it’s a short cycle, and doesn’t add any additional CO2 to the atmosphere, unlike when burning oil, which C-content hasn’t been in the atmosphere for millions of years.

      1. The production of human food costs lots of (non-renewable) energy and space. For the environment it might be better to have a small e-assist on your bike when the electric energy comes from a “green” source. These are complex calculations although.

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