A ride in Emmen

The bridge in Emmen from last week’s post was about 15 minutes cycling from the railway station. After I had filmed the bridge I filmed the ride back. This is the fifth ride in my series of nine. I will publish one ride every Monday in October and November 2020. The route took me through a late 1960s early 1970s residential neighbourhood with all the characteristics of a new town. Only in this part of the Netherlands there was clearly more room, or at least there was at the time. There is a lot of green between the houses, even more than in new towns of the same era in the west of the country. The part that I am much more familiar with. I didn’t cycle in the residential streets. I maybe should have, because this award winning new town was one of the first locations in the Netherlands where the woonerf (home zone) concept was implemented. I filmed this ride on a Saturday morning late September and only few people were out and about yet. When I reached the station it was only 11:05 am. And so I decided to cycle on from the station to the old town centre and from there to the new town centre. This unplanned route is therefore not the shortest route. I could have reached the end from the beginning in a shorter more direct way, but that is not the point of these rides. They are to show you what the cycling infrastructure is like, also in smaller towns in the further corners of the country. In the captions I write some more observations. Enjoy the ride.

The street in which I started is called Ullevi. That is a very unusual name in the Netherlands, but it turns out to be a Swedish stadium. Since a street nearby is called Bislett (a stadium in Norway) and these streets are near the stadium of Emmen I assume the streets are named after these stadiums.
A cycle path with concrete tiles like this is like a trip down memory lane. For a moment I had the feeling I was back in the 1970s again. A lot of these paths have been updated in the Netherlands, but this is an original one. The slabs were very even though, so it is a perfectly good cycle way. The path may have been repaved (using the same tiles) at least once. The sign is a modern traffic sign.
The two concrete blocks to make sure drivers don’t enter the cycleway here are not good. Bollards are taken out as much as possible now, but these blocks are even worse. I think they become invisible very quickly in lower light conditions and they are in the path of most people. Very bad. The markings on the priority crossing in the foreground are well set in the smooth paving, but we would like to see the elephants feet (the blocks) on the outside of the cycleway nowadays.
A big part of the route took me through woods. This however is a wood in the residential area. Homes can be found in any direction from here. It was nice to see some parents with children underway.
This is an example of an apartment building suddenly visible besides the path. Such buildings were scattered in the wood. It could even be that the trees and the buildings were built and planted around the same time, somewhere in the late 1960s early 1970s.
Not all the cycleways connected. This was a short missing link between two parts of the cycle network. When it is so quiet it is no big deal to cycle on the road for a few hundred metres, but I don’t know how it is in rush hour when people in the area all want to leave their homes around the same time for work.
The main road in the direction of the station and the town centre is straight through the woods. The verge between cycleway and roadway has larger trees. Also the central reservation (median) has many trees. Nice in daylight, but the cycleway did not have separate street lights, so I believe it can become very dark here. The surface of the cycleway is concrete here.
At intersections the concrete became red asphalt to signal to all road users that this is a location where you need to pay more attention. Even though the cycleway is a bit further from the roadway it is still within the limit to have priority over the side street, because it forms one road with the roadway. That means turning traffic still has to give way to people cycling straight on (the basic rule for traffic on the same road). If the cycleway is even further from the roadway (often outside the built-up area) they are seen as separate roads and that rule no longer applies.
Emmen has this textbook example of a protected intersection in the middle of the woods. A bit unexpected but not unusual. Protected intersections are a great way to safely construct an at grade intersection.
Some older infrastructure here around the station area and the level railway crossing. Good enough though, for someone using a mobility scooter. When I saw that it was only 11:05 on the clock I decided to cycle on to the town’s centre to make this trip a bit longer.
Some smaller streets around the car free town centre form one large gyratory system with a one way set-up. Cycling is permitted in both direction on on-street cycle lanes.
At the beginning of the car free town centre shopping streets there is this retracting bollard. It can be lowered to let delivery vehicles enter the street. The red light does not have to be observed when you cycle.
The original village square with the church is now completely car free. There were some stalls selling goods, such as flowers, but it wasn’t a real market. When I filmed this street again for Twitter about an hour later it was a lot livelier, with even a street organ.
From the old town square I cycled to the newer town centre. This is build around the entrance to the Emmen Zoo that has a theatre too.
I parked my rental bike in front of the Zoo to end this ride.

Map of the ride

Video of the ride

One thought on “A ride in Emmen

  1. Regarding these concrete blocks: the 1996 song: ‘Betonpaolties’ by Skik is relevant (if I remember correctly it refers to a bicycle accident of Daniel Lohues between Erica and Emmen). Now after all these years I know how these concrete things look!

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