October 18, 2018

Spijkenisse unveils Silly Walks pedestrian crossing

Filed under: Weird by Orangemaster @ 12:50 pm

Spijkenisse, South Holland, the city of the fake euro bridges, has officially unveiled a special pedestrian crossing sign at city hall today, featuring none other than a nod to John Cleese as the Minister of Silly Walks in the famous Monty Python sketch of 1970. The sign depicts a man wearing a bowler hat and carrying a briefcase who is about to take a funny step to cross the street.

A local bureaucrat heard about a similar sign in Haparanda, Sweden, and as a fan of British humour figured why not have such a sign in Spijkenisse as well. And since according to him weird things happen at city hall, having the sign next to his place of work was fitting. Crossing the street at one of the city’s busiest intersections with a smile is also a good idea. And regardless of how funny your walk is, traffic still needs to stop for you.

Back in 2016 we told you about hundreds of fans of British comedy legend John Cleese showing up for the opening of a Silly Walks tunnel in Eindhoven.

(Link and phote: nos.nl)

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February 29, 2016

Amsterdam Central Station’s shared space is successful

Filed under: Bicycles,General by Orangemaster @ 1:06 pm

First the media complained about how dangerous it looked, with opinions ranging from ‘completely bonkers’ and ‘sign this petition’, which have now turned into ‘yeah, but don’t be in a rush’ (video) and ‘hey, it actually works for 39,000 commuters a day’.

After a major redesign of the space behind Amsterdam Central Station, where the many ferries take commuters across the IJ river to Amsterdam-Noord, cyclists and pedestrians need to navigate a sea of each other in a no-traffic-rules-figure-it-out-among-yourselves zone. The idea is that a shared space avoids using traffic lights, and if it had been a total disaster full of accidents, the city would have changed it, but now the shared space is deemed successful.

People coming off ferries on bikes and scooters are definitely to be avoided as a pedestrian, then again, if I’m in their way, it’s up to them to go around me. I’ve actually been there on roller skates at night and that went well. According to Het Parool newspaper, in three months, there has been one ‘incident’ where a cyclist hit a scooter and got back on their bike and buzzed off. They say that cyclists are a bit less aggressive and more polite to pedestrians there as well, and all the naysayers, including us, although we kept it down the pub, have been proven wrong.

Have a look at this time-lapse video and see for yourselves:

Timelapse van de shared space bij Centraal Station from Gemeente Amsterdam on Vimeo.

(Links: www.parool.nl, citinerary.net)

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September 13, 2015

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

Filed under: Automobiles,Bicycles by Branko Collin @ 6:53 pm

cyclist-red-traffic-light-martin-fischTraffic lights generally exist to regulate car traffic, so it doesn’t always makes sense when cyclists have to obey them too.

As part of the campaign Utrecht Fietst (Utrecht Cycles) the city asked its citizens which traffic lights were redundant, Verkeersnet reports. Motorists, cyclists and pedestrians rose to the occasion and sent in a whopping 4,760 reports between February and April. The city then presented responses for each junction on an interactive map (click the “i” icon hovering over each traffic light).

In June the city started to experiment with disabling the traffic lights of seven junctions with a further three junctions scheduled for an experiment later in 2015 in which traffic lights will be shut down during quiet times. These experiments will last six months before evaluation. Cyclists will get an additional free right on red at four junctions.

(Link: Rad-Spannerei; photo by Martin Fisch, some rights reserved)

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December 31, 2011

Crowd sourcing a bridge in Rotterdam

Filed under: Architecture by Branko Collin @ 12:53 pm

The Pop-up City writes:

The International Architecture Biennale Rotterdam (IABR) and Rotterdam-based architecture firm ZUS have launched the project I Make Rotterdam, a spectacular temporary pedestrian bridge between the city’s Central and the North districts that will be financed through crowd-funding.

The bridge, which should be completed during the 5th International Architecture Biennale in Rotterdam this Spring, has to help pedestrians to get from Rotterdam’s Central Station to some of the biennale’s locations. But how long this new pedestrian bridge is going to be depends completely on the amount of money that crowd wants to spend on it.

A plank will set you back 30 euro, an element (5 planks) 150 euro, and a part (9 elements?) 1500 euro. The Pop-Up City has some good advice for the organizers: “translate the website to English in order to open up the project for foreign money. Isn’t this an International Architecture Biennale?” I would like to add that listing prices to consumers without including sales tax is punishable with a fine of the third category.

See also: How to improve Rotterdam in 100 steps.

(Source illustration: I Make Rotterdam)

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March 29, 2010

Toronto adopts Dutch ‘woonerf’ street design

Filed under: Architecture,Automobiles,Bicycles by Branko Collin @ 8:27 am

woonerfWoonerfs are streets where the boundaries between the areas for drivers, cyclists and pedestrians have been eradicated on purpose, making them true shared spaces; and Toronto wants one.

Says National Post:

Waterfront Toronto said yesterday that, thanks to CAN$ 5.3 million from Ottawa [federal government], it will turn the one-hectare stretch of city and provincially owned land [near the Don Valley Parkway on/off ramps ] into a park, complete with ball hockey and basketball courts, community gardens, ‘ribbon’ benches and climbing structures for children.

Waterfront Toronto also attempted yesterday to slip a Dutch word into the local vernacular, promising to build “woonerf” to bisect the new residential buildings north of Underpass Park. Designers say “woonerf” are streets, popular in Holland, that are cobbled in pavers. Woonerf do not have sidewalks or lines painted on them, and favour pedestrians and cyclists over cars.


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