Thursday 6 July 2017

Trip to Netherlands: Delft

We were in Delft by Shelley and Angela from Mobycon, who help design sustainable transport solutions. After kitting us out with hire bikes (actually they were owned by the train company and used for a "train and bike" mobility solution), we had coffee and then went for a ride round town to see things first hand 

Notable things we saw:

1. The parking at the station was for around 5000 bikes. Very spacious and technically supported so people could easily find the few spaces. Cycle Paths and signage right to the door.
Bike Parking at Delft Station

2. The bikes we got belong to the train company. Any registered NL citizen can hire a bike to extend their train journey very cheaply (free?). They were the type without handbrakes which took a little getting used to!
The Train Company Bikes

3. As we sat outside Mobycon building we could see the route to the station and one main road. There were nearly always more people visible on bikes than in cars.

4. In some places the number of bikes was a little scary - they take no prisoners and assume everyone is as confident as them.

5. The old city is completely traffic free (except those that can get through bollards).  It was a bit empty when we were there, but you could see that it would be a lively social centre when the market was in situ.

Market Square : Car friendly version
Market Square: People friendly now

6. We saw a “Home Zone” where cars are limited to 10 kph, there are no through roads, and parking (even for bikes) is at a premium.

Home Zone

7. We were shown an amazing roundabout. This was a fantastic example of changing the power dynamics of a city form cars to people. We were so impressed by this roundabout that we all cycled round it many times whooping like children! Here is the before and after picture:
Before and After

  • Tram and busses go straight through the centre and then the lights stop everyone else
  • Cars give way to pedestrians then to cycles that come in *both* directions (many more of them when we were there than in the video).
  • The road has been reduced from Dual Carriageway to one lane in each direction plus a separate lane for trams and busses.
  • But cars seemed to make fine progress

Video of the Roundabout in Action

This is how to make roundabouts safer for cycles

8. We saw an  area where they were removing an old six lane highway near the station and replacing it with human scale infrastructure prioritising pedestrians, bike users and public transport.
A six lane highway has been replaced by exposing the canals underneath and creating a green waterside walk

9. We saw the University where they have removed major access road over bridge and replaced it entirely with cycle *road* (and a very busy cycle road it was too). 

The TU Delft Campus as it was

TU Delft Campus now (cars can still get there, but they are guests and come round the back!)

10. We saw a number of these - a kind of bin on the front of a Segway! Apparently kindergarten teachers take the kids for rides in them. They love it!  

Kindergarten Transport

Thanks enormously to our Mobycon hosts for the tour they gave us and for the use of some of their pictures.

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