For this week’s post I cycled a large part of the so-called Binnenring (Inner Ring) in Amsterdam. This is a new cycle route right around the historic city centre of the city, that is currently under development. Where possible the route will be (or has become) a cycle street for longer distances. On the city’s website Amsterdam explains the reason for the reconstruction of the streets that form this Inner Ring. I translated the text of the website and adjusted it slightly to make it a bit more understandable to an international audience.
Safe, fast and attractive
Improving traffic safety and creating more space for cycling and public transport are the main reasons for redesigning the “Binnenring” (Inner Ring) in Amsterdam. We want to create a recognisable, safe and attractive route. The Binnenring is more than 7 kilometers long and runs through Czaar Peterstraat, Sarphatistraat, Weteringschans and Marnixstraat. More space will be created on the Binnenring for cycling and public transport. The city will achieve this by turning it into a main bicycle street with (mostly) separate tram tracks.
- Cars will be guests and the maximum speed will be 30 kilometres per hour.
- The public transport stops (tram stops) will be accessible to all users
- There will be safe and pleasant walking routes to and from these stops.
- The tram tracks will not be used by other vehicles as much as possible.
The city has already taken care of a large part of Sarphatistraat, Weteringschans and a number of important intersections along this route. In the coming years, the western part of the route will have the main focus, in particular: Weteringschans between Weteringcircuit and Leidseplein as well as the Marnixstaat. Amsterdam is also working on Czaar Peterstraat and the northern part of Sarphatistraat. The Binnenring is intended to be extended to Amsterdam-North in the more distant future, via new bridges over the river IJ, on the east side and on the west side of the city centre.
Mentioned in other sources is that the number of trams increased significantly on the Binnenring after the North-South Metro line of Amsterdam was opened. (This tram line crosses that new line perpendicularly, so they complement each other.) More trams meant more potential conflicts with other types of traffic, including walking and cycling. Making the area around the tram tracks safer was therefore a priority for the city. The reconstruction of the first parts of the Binnenring started in 2016. The ring runs on streets on the inside of the final canal around Amsterdam’s historic city centre. Local car traffic is rerouted to the main road on the outside of this former city moat. Also a ring formed by several streets which all together are referred to as the S100. Through traffic is directed via the A10 ring road, a motorway which runs mostly outside the main built-up area of the city.
The reconstructed parts of the Binnenring are notably greener than these streets were before. The parts of the Binnenring which are yet to be redesigned will get the same type of greenery that you can see in the Sarphatistraat today. The middle part of Sarphatistraat was one of the first sub-projects to be finished in 2018.
The cycle street has a surface of smooth red asphalt. One of the first crossings to be finished was the main intersection of Frederiksplein, that was completed in 2018. Another big intersection, Weteringcircuit, was reconstructed in 2019. The street connecting to Weteringcircuit called Weteringschans was reopened as a cyclesteet in 2020.
I stop the ride and the video in Marnixstraat, because from then on most of the reconstruction has yet to take place. The north part of that street is in the planning stage. The final design is expected to be approved this year (2023) and the reconstruction may take place in 2024 (or later). The reconstruction can only take place after a parking garage (for cars) has been finished. The south part of Marnixstraat should be under construction right now. The works were scheduled to have started, but I have not been there recently to check if that is indeed the case.
The north part of Sarphatistraat (where the tram tracks run on grass now) will also be redesigned. The separate cycle tracks which can be found there now are too narrow for the amount of cycling traffic. But that sub-project is also still in the planning phase. Works will not take place before 2025.
Enjoy the ride and note that there are parts which are finished and parts which have yet to be reconstructed. Also note that I filmed this ride in January 2022, a year ago.
The city of Amsterdam published a really interesting background story on the history of the Binnenring on their website. It is in Dutch but Google Translate creates a quite readable and understandable machine translation.