January 31, 2016

Bicycle tunnel built in a single weekend in Utrecht

Filed under: Bicycles by Branko Collin @ 11:49 pm

bike-tunnel-utrechtThe Netherlands is known for taking better care of its cyclists than other countries, but this may be taking the cake.

The sign at the beginning of the video says it all: “Spinoza Bridge closed from 2 May 9 p.m. to 4 May 11 p.m.” Two days in 2014. That is how little time it took the city of Utrecht to tear apart the bridge, put tunnel parts in the gap and repair the bridge. And all this for cyclists.

The city then took 12 more months to dot the i’s and cross the t’s, which included placing tile murals by Louise Hessel. Why the tunnel had to be built so quickly is unknown, but a report from 2009 (PDF) mentions that traffic crossing the bridge would be seriously inconvenienced if the bridge had to be closed. The same report argues vehemently against building the tunnel. Apart from the effects on traffic it mentions that the bridge’s counterweight room would ‘conflict with’ the tunnel and that the costs of alternative solutions would be humongous.

In 2015 the city started its campaign Utrecht Fietst (Utrecht Cycles) and (the run up to) this campaign may have created the funds and the political will to improve the cycling situation around the Spinoza Bridge after all. Alderman Lot van Hooijdonk opened the tunnel on 28 November 2014.

A more recent cycling development in Utrecht is that the city has closed a lot of bike paths to mopeds, which aren’t allowed to go faster than 25 kph, but reach much higher speeds in practice.

See also: The city of Utrecht received 5,000 answers when it asked which traffic lights should go

(Illustration: crop of the video, link: Mark Wagenbuur)

Tags: , , , , , ,

November 25, 2008

Spinoza statue unveiled in Amsterdam

Filed under: Art,General,History by Orangemaster @ 12:04 pm

The unveiling of a very prominent statue of philosopher Baruch Spinoza in Amsterdam took place Monday, 24 November in the presence of the city’s mayor, Job Cohen. It has been placed on the Zwanenburgerwal near the Stopera (the city’s opera house), which is at the entrance of the former Jewish quarter where Spinoza grew up. The statue was crafted out of bronze by Nicolas Dings and the head was specifically made to match the one on the former 1000 gulder banknote.

Our very own roving reporter and photographer Branko Collin says that, “according to a radio item this morning, the symbols on the cloak – the roses, parakeets and sparrows – stand for Spinoza himself, immigrants (a reference to the parakeets in Vondelpark) and natives (sparrows are a diminishing breed).”

(Link: elsevier.nl, photo: Branko Collin)

Tags: , , , ,