Main cycle route from Nijkerk to Amersfoort

Amersfoort is the second major city in the province of Utrecht. The city is growing rapidly and with its current 165,000 inhabitants Amersfoort is the 15th largest city in the Netherlands. To keep its new expansions accessible, the city is seriously investing in cycling. In 2016 Amersfoort wrote in its Cycling plan: “A population growth from 154,000 to 170,000 means 10% more bicycle movements in the city if bicycle use remains the same. In absolute terms, an 8%-point growth means an increase of more than 15%, which means 25% more bicycle movements in the city. This calls for significant measures. Not only to achieve this growth, but also, the existing cycling infrastructure needs to be updated to accomodate it and, for example, it also requires a provision of more bicycle parking facilities.”

The town centre of Nijkerk, you can just see the top of the Great or St. Catharine’s Church.
This cycle way in Nijkerk is not part of the upgraded main cycle route (that only starts at the edge of Nijkerk), but I wanted to show that this upgraded main route is perfectly connected to existing cycling infrastructure in Nijkerk.

Improving the cycling connections to and from Amersfoort-Vathorst is one of the measures to increase the accessibility of that new neighbourhood in the north-east of Amersfoort. The goal is not only to connect Vathorst to the centre of Amersfoort, but also to Nijkerk. Nijkerk is a historic town north-east of Amersfoort, directly on the other side of the provincial border in the province of Gelderland. Nijkerk proper has almost 30,000 inhabitants and it has a strong bond with Amersfoort. Borders often keep people apart, but this provincial border does not prevent many school children from Nijkerk to cycle to schools in Vathorst. That neighbourhood is expected to also have a population of 30,000 in 2030. In 2016, the council of the municipality of Amersfoort approved measures to make and keep Vathorst accessible. An important part of those measures, (which are also part of the aforementioned Amersfoort Cycling Plan, from March 2016) was the upgrade of the main cycle route from Amersfoort centre – via Vathorst – to Nijkerk.

This former minor provincial road has been transformed into a cycle street or maybe we should say a cycle road since this is outside the built-up area. That this is outside built-up area means that the maximum speed for motor vehicles is 60km/h here. If this would be inside the built-up area it would have been 30km/h. Some cars passed me on this road, none of the passings was close (in my opinion; the Dutch generally pass closer, sometimes much closer, than in other countries).
The road of the previous picture continues all the way to Amersfoort-Vathorst, which starts right after this curve. On the picture one of the many school children I saw. On the way to Nijkerk I saw many more, but I filmed on my way back from Nijkerk and apparently that was just at a time that there weren’t many children left cycling here. That changed (dramatically) once I was in Amersfoort again, about 15 minutes later.

There was one important missing link in this route, a railway to the north near the former village of Hooglanderveen (now part of the municipality of Amersfoort), could not be crossed. Once the cycling tunnel there was opened (on 26 November 2021) the entire route could be used, because all the other measures were much smaller. Most points of the to-do-list had been done when I filmed this route late August 2022, but not all. For this post I took stills from my video to show the current state of a number of these points:

To-do-list upgrade main cycle route Amersfoort Centre/Vathorst to Nijkerk

  1. Building the Veentunnel (under the railway) – done (Opening 26 Nov. 2021)
  2. Adapting the Willem Tomassenlaan: switching the location of the car lanes and the cycle way and reconstructing the entrance to a football (soccer) club – done
  3. Relocation of the route via Heideweg. This is part of the redesign of the Heideweg – done
  4. Redesigning the Veenweg as a cycle street – done
  5. Building a cycle way through development ‘Laak3’, between ‘het Lovink’ and the Domstraat This is planned to be done late 2022 by the developer of the area.
  6. Widening the cycle way in the tunnel at Liendertseweg – Autumn 2022
  7. Improving (straightening) the crossing of Computerweg
  8. Replacing the tiled surface of the Hoefseweg by asphalt.
  9. Widening the cycle way Jan van Riebeeckpad – done in May 2022

I recorded my ride from Nijkerk to the centre of Amersfoort on Friday 26 August 2022.

This connection in Hooglanderveen is rather poor. The cycle way (left) used to continue, but a new building is now in the way and it now suddenly stops with a poor connection to Paulinapolder, the street in the foreground. This location is not mentioned in the to-do list, but I do expect an improvement here.
The new Veentunnel under the railway north from Amersfoort to Zwolle was opened on 26 November 2021. This was point 1 on the to-do-list.
This is point 2 of the to-do-list. Clearly the location of the road and the cycle way were swapped here. That way the cycle way connects better to the new railway tunnel (in the distance) without the need to cross the car lanes at all. Google Streetview November 2020 vs July 2022.
This is point 5 of the to-do list. Obviously that has not been done yet. The reconstruction of this road into a cycle street is expected for the Autumn of 2022.
Point 6 on the to-do-list; widening this cycle way in the tunnel under the railway to Apeldoorn. (Most likely at the expense of the foot way.) Apparently the city decided that more of the available space should be allocated to people cycling.
Point 7 on the to-do-list: straightening this crossing (now to the left) to connect it directly with the continuation of the route in the distance between the trees. You can see that many people do go straight-on already, by the desire line cutting through the grass.
Point 8 on the to-do-list: replacing this surface of concrete tiles with asphalt. According to the Amersfoort Cycling Plan from 2016 that costs about €250,000 per kilometre for a cycle way of 2.5m wide.
Point 9 of the to-do-list. This path, the Jan van Riebeeckpad, was widened in May 2022. It obviously also got a new smooth surface of red asphalt.
The end of my ride, at the edge of the historic city centre of Amersfoort, the famous Koppelpoort (city gate).
Two maps from the Amersfoort Cycling Plan, 2016. Left the main cycle routes in green, planned routes in dotted green. I highlighted the route to Nijkerk in red. Right the full cycling network. I marked the missing link of the Veentunnel with a red dot. That tunnel is no longer a missing link. It was opened in November 2021.
My ride from Nijkerk to Amersfoort on the – almost finished – upgraded main cycle route.

2 thoughts on “Main cycle route from Nijkerk to Amersfoort

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