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 26, 2013

Tunnel racks up 24,000 fines yet off limits to cars

Filed under: Automobiles by Orangemaster @ 8:51 pm

In Ede, Gelderland there is a tunnel that cars and motorbikes are forbidden to drive through, but public transport buses and bikes are allowed to use. The warning signs are clear to drivers, but still, cars and motorbikes keep driving through the tunnel to the tune of 24,000 fines at 90 euro a piece since 3 December 2012. Cars and motorbikes used to be allowed to drive through the tunnel, but that was more than a year ago, which is ample time to get used to a new traffic situation one would think.

It boggles the municipality’s collective mind why cars and motorbikes keep driving through, especially since there’s a speed camera that captures them in the act. To find out what’s up with that, they’ve called upon university students to document people’s behaviour. To soften the barrage of fines being issued, the municipality has agreed to turn off the speed camera half of the day, although at random.

(Link: www.waarmaarraar.nl, photo by Heiloo Online, some rights reserved)

Tags: , , ,

September 22, 2013

‘Underwater’ bridge for bicycles in Haarlem

Filed under: Automobiles,Bicycles by Branko Collin @ 3:24 pm

The city of Haarlem wanted to create a safer situation where a main road crossed another main road coming off a bridge.

For some reason all practical solutions turned out impossible (more likely someone couldn’t be bothered) so the city opted for a work-around, albeit a well designed one. They built a bicycle bridge that wraps around the underside of the other bridge and then partially submerged the bicycle bridge. The result is either a submerged bridge or an open air tunnel, your pick.

The bridge was designed by IPV who seem to be specializing in these sort of crazy work-arounds—check their bicycle roundabout hovering above Eindhoven.

Mark Wagenbuur, the bicycle vlogger, visited Haarlem and shot one of his trademark videos there.

(Photo: ipv Delft)

Tags: , , , , , ,

August 21, 2013

Experts deem Second Coen Tunnel dangerous and even deadly

Filed under: Architecture,Automobiles by Orangemaster @ 1:07 pm

The Coen (pronounced ‘coon’) Tunnel which runs under the North Sea Canal in Amsterdam built in 1966 is currently being fully renovated, a project that should run until 2014. The Second Coen Tunnel (that’s its name) was built from 2009-2013 and has me worried as a passenger when I go through it. I thought it was just me that felt claustrophobic in that tunnel as compared to the first one (shown here), but apparently traffic psychologists aren’t fans of the very narrow tunnel either, calling it names like “crash tunnel” and “death tunnel”.

Since its opening in mid May, there have been 55 accidents in the Second Coen Tunnel (65 according to other sources), which is either way much more than the average of four accidents a week in the first Coen Tunnel. The experts say they are too many red lights (red lights are used to indicate the right-hand side of the road, while white is for the left-hand side), which look like brake lights, no possible place to stop like in the first tunnel and it is very narrow.

First Coen Tunnel (gets full screen near 0:25), with some hip hop music:

Second Coen Tunnel, straight up, no music:

(Link: www.kennislink.nl, Photo of Coen Tunnel by Erik Tjallinks, some rights reserved)

Tags: , , ,

March 12, 2010

First ever Dutch beaver tunnel opens

Filed under: Animals,Architecture,Dutch first,Nature by Orangemaster @ 5:08 pm

Driving down the Dutch highway I have seen overpasses for deers and I have heard of frog overpasses and tunnels, but this is a first for me too: the very first beaver tunnel in the country.

Yes, as of today, the wee village of Panheel (189 villagers) in Limburg has opened a 30-metre-long tube, 70 centimetres in diameter so that beavers don’t wobble down a busy street and get turned into road pizza. Not only have many beavers died, but they damage cars when then do because they are bigger and bulkier than they look.

The people and animal lovers involved believe that other small woodland creatures will use this tunnel as well. It cost 40,000 euro and was paid with contributions as well as tax money.

I have only respect for beavers, and OK, this one is darn cute. I spent part of my youth at summer camp tearing down their dams only to see them fully rebuilt days later. It was either portaging (carrying a canoe over your head because of lack of water or obstacles), with two 9-year-old girls lifting an aluminium canoe of 45 kg over their heads with backpacks for 2 kilometers through the woods being eaten by mosquitoes or tearing down a beaver dam that grows back like weeds and canoe on the water like normal kids.

(Link: nrc.nl, Photo of beaver by stevehdc, some rights reserved)

Tags: , ,

May 18, 2008

Bicycle tunnel as racetrack

Filed under: Art by Branko Collin @ 9:00 am

Here is a proposal for a temporary solution for an ill lit, scary little bicycle tunnel in Zoetermeer, until the city would have the time to fix it for real. Artist Supergoed (super good) suggested that people go through it as quickly as possible. Hence the race track feel. Both entrances have the word “Start” over them.

Via Trendbeheer (Dutch).

Tags: , ,

June 7, 2007

Girls, lose your fear of tunnels!

Filed under: Automobiles,Weird by Orangemaster @ 3:49 pm

Women who are afraid of driving through tunnels (!?) can practice doing so on Saturday, 9 June in the 6,6 km long Westerscheldetunnel, the longest car tunnel in the Netherlands. The management is holding a women’s day so that they can get used to driving under water. Some 400 women have already signed up. The tunnel people swear it’s a female problem.

The women will drive through the tunnel in a bus (?) and learn about safety in case they ever breakdown. And to make sure it’s a women’s day, massages and manicures will be given as well.

(Link: Bisnis)

Tags: , ,