Ride in Utrecht

For another shorter holiday post I filmed a ride in Utrecht again. By mid-June the local radio and television channel RTV Utrecht reported that the traffic volumes were almost back at the levels of before the Corona “intelligent” lockdown, especially the number of people cycling. I found that very hard to believe judging from what I saw in the streets myself. Foreign observers also noticed it was less busy than usual, but the report was based on figures provided by the city.

billet en français

The central cycleway in the Utrecht Science Park (as the University Campus is known). Not at all busy on a weekday. The yellow sign on the left urges people to stay 1.5 metres away from each other. No problem at all.

A month into the lockdown cycling volumes had decreased by 80% on Vredenburg. I showed you what that looked like. Apparently by early June already 80% of the cycling volume figure for last year was reached again on Amsterdamsestraatweg. The number of private cars had reached 70% of last year’s figures on Westplein and Biltstraat by mid-May. The big difference in volume was in public transport. That was only at 17% of the amount of last year, by early June.

Obviously the 1.5 metre rule does not apply to couples. This is a nice demonstration of just how wide this cycle track is. Needed again when the crisis is over.

For the ride in this post I chose a route from the University Campus to Central Station in the city centre. Of course, the students had not returned yet to this location. Everybody studied from home as much as possible and that still is the case today (and there are also holidays now). Very clearly the levels on this particular route are not back to the levels of before March 2020 when the lockdown started. Below the video without any comments. I did add some comments to the pictures in this post. Enjoy the ride.

I think this is the first time I caught the new tram in one of my videos. This is the tramline that started service last December 2019. The tracks run partly in grass.
A lot of attention was given to the design of the tram track crossings. At this location a turning lane for cycling was installed where people can wait out of the way of other people cycling when the light is red to cross the tramway tracks to the right.
A mother and child -rightfully- taking the full width of the cycle street. The driver of the red car was being impatient, but did wait -almost long enough- with overtaking them until I passed and this half of the street was clear to do so.
Recreational racing is a favourite past time in the Netherlands. This small peloton is bending the Corona rules a little in my opinion.
Some of the route takes me to streets that will be redesigned (again). This was once the first cycle street in the Netherlands. That wasn’t a success at the time, but fortunately – 25 years later – the city will do it again. The circumstances have changed in favour of a cycle street, especially the traffic composition and volume.
On an average working day 17,254 people use this street by bicycle. The number of motor vehicles is 4,120. (Count 2016, by the municipality of Utrecht) For the time being there are only warning signs that the road surface is not up to standards.
At this location in Nachtegaalstraat the reconstruction has already started. The separate cycleway will be removed here. This will become a cycle street where cars are guest to give cycling more space. The traffic volumes here warrant such a solution. Cyclists outnumber motor vehicles by far. In 2016 traffic was counted. In 24 hours on a working day there are 18,133 people cycling and 4,085 motor vehicles in this street. The driver of the car in the picture was negotiating entrance with the traffic warden.
Here, closer to the city centre, it is indeed already quite busy with people cycling. During this preparation phase of the reconstruction only residents can use the street with a car and cycling already takes place on the roadway.
In the historic city centre things looked almost normal with the number of people on the streets. At least for a warm summer day.
First time I noticed this bicycle shop selling second-hand bicycles. Really affordable prices. Too bad only little space remains for pedestrians this way.
Now that the reconstruction of the Utrecht station area is in its final stage, a lot of the buildings alongside this main east-west corridor are being updated. The former post-office on Neude has become beautiful and is now mainly the city library. The building on the right hand side, with the small corner tower, has been beautifully restored and the building on the left hand corner will also be restored to look like originally designed in the 1930s.
The busiest cycleway in the Netherlands is not so busy here. I really wish the city will provide another space for parking all these mopeds. Once the moped ban in Utrecht comes in force they will have to. You can no longer legally reach this location with a moped after the ban.
The entrance of the world’s largest bicycle parking garage from the north. In the garage it is also much quieter than normal. I’ve only been there about 5 times since early March myself, but I have an annual subscription so I am allowed to leave my bicycle here that long.

A ride in Utrecht. It is still more quiet than before the Corona Crisis.

3 thoughts on “Ride in Utrecht

  1. So funny that you posted this ride today that mirrors part of the one I posted. I’m assuming yours wasn’t taken today. Am I right? So nice to have your commentary so I have an inkling about what’s happening with the construction. Is your ride speeded up? If not, Paul and I are real slow pokes.

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