Rush hour at dawn

Billet en français

It’s been a while since I showed you a morning rush hour. It is always good to take a step back every now and then. I often show you different types of infrastructure, urban design plans or before and afters. But all those things simply make it possible for people to live their lives in a pleasant way and to get to work in the morning. That is what cities in the Netherlands aim to achieve with their attention to cycling. This was again explained by the executive council member for sustainable mobility in ’s-Hertogenbosch, Ufuk Kahya, this week in an interview.

At the beginning of the video it is still really dark but you can already see it dawns in the east.
I positioned myself at the T-Junction where this cycleway leads to the parking garage under the stairs to the station. The station hall is bright in the distance. It is hard to see but the station clock shows it is 7:55 in this shot. The grass to the left is temporary, it will be there – for a few years – until a developer will build the planned high rise there.

However, for my post I went to Utrecht, simply because that is where I work. Utrecht has been changing the area around the central railway station since before I started filming in 2009. After so many years some locations are finally being finished and it is about time I showed you what one such new location looks like in full swing.

While these four boys cycle to school the sky behind them is turning orange from the sun coming up.
Not only children cycle to school. People of all ages and backgrounds are out and about on their bicycles. There really are no groups in the Netherlands that do not regularly cycle. Some individuals may choose not to cycle, but that is not because they come from a certain group in society, but because of reasons of their own.

I have written a blog post about the transformation of the Utrecht Jaarbeursplein and Croeselaan on the west side of the station. This used to be called the back side of the station but if you look at it now it is no wonder that even when people speak about this area they don’t normally use that term anymore. This went from a traffic gutter to a very pleasant place for people. And it shows. It isn’t even completely finished. In the video you can hear a concrete mixer truck in the background, delivering the concrete for the Galaxy Tower that is being constructed. You can also see some green grass here that is really a location for a future high rise, but all the cycleways and footways have got their definitive look with a lot of beautiful stone. In November 2018, many trees were planted and they have really given the square a great new feel. Have a look at how many people on foot and on their bicycles pass here in the morning rush hour. All the while the sun is coming up and the sky is changing by the minute. I filmed this on Monday 20th of January from 7:55 to 8:15 am.

Not only mothers cycle with children. This is a father riding with two very young children. The youngest in the front and the somewhat older child in the back seat. He’s probably dropping the children off at day care and then going to his work.
It was very busy at times, especially when the lights on Westplein had released another group of people cycling, but those busy moments would always be followed by quieter moments in which people on foot could easily cross the cycleway. Some people are very good at walking straight through the passing cyclists without hindering anyone.
Another child in the rear seat of a bicycle. Sitting at the back of the bicycle of your father builds such confidence that it is a life changing experience about which songs are written.
The atmosphere is generally relaxed, at these speeds people have just enough space and time to judge whether they can go or have to hold back a little.
At the end of the video it is clearly getting light and most people have already reached their destinations for the day. The place gets even more quiet.

This week’s video: Sun rise in Utrecht with people cyling.

13 thoughts on “Rush hour at dawn

  1. I love these vids, especially the ones at night (I know this was shot early in the morning).

    Thanks to you, I now use my bike as my primary form of transportation where I live, rather than drive. Looking forward to your next vid (hopefully 1080p 60fps). ^_^

  2. Very nice. A few years ago I saw the busiest cycle traffic in Toronto on the Martin Goodman Trail, at Harbourfront. I went to bike on the trail and looked at an Impenetrable wall of cyclists and had to wait for a break in the flow. I was surprised to see this. I think part of the problem is the path is now too narrow and needs to be a car lane wide or have two bike lanes in each direction for different speeds.

  3. Inspirational! Thank you!
    But I’m already converted, dreaming of the day when our infrastructure is half as good.

  4. Under the second picture you write that the grass will be used to build a high rise. How will the sight line be for people coming from the station riding towards the T-junction?

  5. Dutch friends biking, always ride side-by-side chatting away. Many cyclists, mostly women, so it seems, chat away on their phones, connected to earbuds, while they bike. They are very sociable.

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