June 30, 2014

Futuristic bicycle bridge connects city to nature

Filed under: Architecture,Nature by Branko Collin @ 8:36 am


The A15 motorway south of Rotterdam is not a nice road to cross if you are a pedestrian or cyclist. Eight lanes of terrifying motorized menace are bordered by a double railway on one side and another road on the other.

To help you escape the city without having to play a game of human Frogger, this bridge, which appears to have come straight from the set of a science fiction film, was built earlier this month. All 190 metres of it connect the city of Rotterdam to the nature preserve of Rhoon.

The bridge, called ‘De Groene Verbinding’ (‘The Green Connection’) was designed by Marc Verheijen, an architect employed by the public works department of Rotterdam. If you want more photos and information, Mark Wagenbuur has an extensive write-up including pictures and videos.

The photo above comes from the Province of South Holland who have also dedicated a page to the bridge.

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June 3, 2013

Den Bosch turned old country road into nature preserve

Filed under: Bicycles,Nature by Branko Collin @ 12:47 pm

When the city of Den Bosch expanded eastward in the 1980s, it gobbled up an old stretch of Meuse dike called Heinis. Originally developers wanted to build a business park there, but protests put a stop to those plans.

Instead, the city decided to build around the area as Mark Wagenbuur writes:

For ages this country road ran through the fields, but the city expanded and new parts were built north and south of this east west road in the late 1970s. Residential areas to the north and an industrial area to the south. By 1980 the old road was suddenly in the middle of the city.

When this was still a real country road there were many rural houses on it. […] Many of the more contemporary houses were destroyed but all the monumental farm houses remained. There were so many of those that the road still has the atmosphere of a country road.

Motor traffic on the old road is now restricted, with bridges spanning gaps in the old dike to let bicycles across.

From a conservationist’s perspective, the area is important for its ‘wheels’ (I don’t think there is an English word for the phenomenon), small but sometimes deep ponds made by kolks breaking through dikes, what IVN/Vogel- en Natuurwacht ‘s-Hertogenbosch e.o. calls “mementos of the sometimes unsuccessful battle against water.”

Here is a Google maps link. Although I cannot show you many photos of the area, the link above to Mark Wagenbuur’s article also leads to a video of a bike ride through the area.

(Photo of a ‘wheel’ in Heinis by Geert Smulders who released it into the public domain)

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July 2, 2012

Wild police chase using a tractor

Filed under: Bicycles by Branko Collin @ 8:45 am

Police officers had to resort to requisitioning a tractor to catch three suspected bicycle thieves in a field last Thursday, the Breukelen police report.

Earlier that evening a citizen saw the three suspects loading bicycles into a van and alerted 112 (the European emergency phone number). A motorcycle cop spotted the van and signalled the driver to stop, but the van continued onto the A2 motorway in the direction of Amsterdam. During the chase, the van stopped on the shoulder and three men emerged, fleeing into a meadow.

Several officers ran after the suspects, and at that point one of the officers requisitioned a tractor with which he or she continued the chase. With the help of wardens of a nearby nature reserve who were passing in a boat, the officers managed to stop and arrest the suspects on top of a dike.

The suspects turned out to be from Haarlem and were aged 29, 37 and 43. The van had a stolen license plate.

You read it here first, folks: three men from Harlem arrested in Brooklyn using a tractor.

(Photo of a dike in Kockengen, near where we suspect the three were apprehended, by E. Dronkert, some rights reserved)

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