Just a few weeks ago the Netherlands was covered in snow. It is almost hard to remember with all the sun and warmth we had since then, but I have the images to prove it! I’d like to look at the snow period one more time in this post. I had the idea to ride and film a route during the snow fall and then a few days later to show the difference between the untreated cycle paths and what those paths look like after the snow removal. That didn’t quite work out as planned. I choose and filmed a route in ʼs-Hertogenbosch, but when I returned to film the “after” situation, it was not cleared at all! Even though it should have been according to the municipality’s own published
map of snow clearing routes. Other parts of the city were nicely cleaned, so I have no idea why this particular street was not. I decided to show the comparison after all. Clearly, we don’t get it right all the time here either, but I did ride an additional route that was completely cleared. It was very much possible to cycle in the city. Just not everywhere. I wrote about winter maintenance earlier. If you want to know more about the backgrounds that is a good post to read, in today’s photo captions I focus on what the policies mean in reality and where, apparently, it sometimes goes wrong.
Billet en français
This street from the station of ʼs-Hertogenbosch to the south has on street cycle lanes for about 200 metres. Cycle lanes are not treated separately on such streets which usually means they are not cleared at all. That is also the case here.
This service street is a 30km/h street. Snow and ice are not removed from residential streets in the Netherlands, only the main routes are cleaned. That means that most of the 30km/h zones (the speed limit for residential streets) are not touched. It is different for this street. This street doubles as a main cycle route and for that reason it should have been cleaned, also according to the snow clearing map from the city. It was not this snow period and I have no idea why. Due to the residual salt that cars dragged here from the main road, the snow got very slushy. That is much harder to ride in, than a compact hard snow deck.
This situation was very unusual. To the right of the perfectly clean roadway is a cycleway that is clearly not useable. On the before picture you can see that there must have been an attempt to clean it, but in the second picture you can’t even see there is a cycleway. This is part of the main cycle routes and it should have been cleaned. The cleaned part did start right at the end of the bridge. Apparently a different route by a different crew starts there. I chose to use the roadway here and drivers accepted that, there was no honking or anything, but I find this a very strange and embarrassing situation.
This is why I expected this route to be cleaned. Left the map published by the municipality showing the car routes in blue and the cycle routes in red. The route I took should have been cleared. The map in the middle is the map from the Cyclists’ Union which is an extra layer in their excellent routeplanner that shows all to be cleared routes in the country. Obviously it too shows that the route I took should have been cleaned. Right, the route I took. I marked the part that was not cleaned in red, further south it was clean. These 800 metres made the ride much harder than it should have been.
This is what I should have found in all the previous pictures. This is just 100 metres further than the last picture of the bridge. This is what a treated cycleway looks like. This way you can cycle safely in snow conditions.
And this is what a treated service street looks like. The cars of residents do mess up the clean part a bit, but it is still much more useable than the not-cleared street you saw in the earlier pictures.
This street is in the municipality of Vught. Vught also clearly cleans the cycle ways. This smaller municipality states it cleans the bus routes and main cycleways first. Only after these routes are done the car routes get treated.
But Vught didn’t get the paths completely clean everywhere either. You can see the snow clearing machine in the before picture, and this part was clearly treated too, but there still is a thin layer of snow, also on the path itself. Car tires spread salt better. That is why the roads get cleaner with less effort.
This is another example of a place where the road is really much cleaner than the cycleway besides it. The cycle way was treated, but clearly not enough. This may have improved in the following days. But in the after picture it hadn’t snowed for at least 12 hours so I would have expected the cycleway to have been cleaner than this.
This is the main cycle route to the station. Before the post It is only a cycleway. Clearly it was cleaned but again, not enough in my opinion.The snow clearing is also only done on one side of the bollard.
The route I took from the railway station of ʼs-Hertogenbosch to the railway station of Vught. The red part of this route was not quite useable!
The video of the first ride with a before and after comparison.
My second ride starts in Groote Wielen, a residential area in the former municipality of Rosmalen. Since the homes were built after this became the municipality of ʼs-Hertogenbosch to some this is Rosmalen (and it is officially) to others this is simply part of ʼs-Hertogenbosch.
This is main cycle route, nowhere near a main route for car traffic, but it was as clean as I expected it to be. Footways are not cleared in the Netherlands and I think the mother with her sledge liked that, other people chose to walk on the cleared part and that is completely fine.
In this route I passed through the ‘bear pit’ that I showed you before on my blog, in completely different weather conditions.
At the border between Rosmalen and ʼs-Hertogenbosch we find this turbo-roundabout with a fly-over for cycling and walking. The access ramp and the viaduct were perfectly clear of snow and ice. I have showed this bridge before.
Bi-directional cycleways are a bit narrower than usual but it is possible to pass other people cycling.
Bollards in the cycleways are not a good idea, also not for the snow clearing vehicle. Only one side of the cycleway was cleaned now.
Due to the snow ridges it is a bit harder to reach the button. Luckily it isn’t really necessary to press the buttons, the detection loops in the surface worked just fine.
This is one of the recently reconstructed intersections that I showed in a previous post. The design also works in the snow even when not all the markings are visible.
Later in this winter week the ice was strong enough to stand on and to skate on. But this was earlier in the week and these children were playing around the frozen water in anticipation.
The railway station ʼs-Hertogenbosch-Oost (East), the end of this route, is a smaller station, but it does have covered bicycle parking.This pedestrian space to get to the platforms is cleaned by the railways. The municipalities do not clear footways.
The second route, from a suburb to railway station ʼs-Hertogenbosch-Oost.
The second ride on a much better cleaned cycle route.