Permanent play street in part of Potgieterstraat

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We saw this huge on-street playground under construction at the Potgieterstraat in Amsterdam yesterday. It is basically taking over the space where the road was.

This used to be a one-way street for cars, with a two-way bike path and a smaller playground. The neighbourhood wanted more room for children to play and so the decision was made (PDF) to ban cars from this part of the Potgieterstraat altogether. You can still bike through it though.

I did some Googling. Play streets have been a feature of Belgian cities since the 1970s, and have also been introduced to London and New York. In all those cases the play streets aren’t permanent fixtures, and cars are never completely banned from the street.

In a way this Amsterdam variant isn’t that much different. Bicycle streets are fairly common here, something I only really started to appreciate when Google Streetview came around, and I noticed that I could not get views for many streets in Amsterdam simply because the Streetview car wasn’t allowed to go there. Bicycles are kept separate from the playground though.


Illustration: the old situation, as seen from the other side.

Furthermore: Orangemaster points out to me that the De Genestetstraat has been a play street for two years. It took a prolonged legal battle for the borough to push this one through—perhaps that is why the Google Streetview car was able to take pictures there.

(Source second photo: Google Streetview)

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