Cycling is a popular, important mode of transport in Amsterdam and bicycle usage in the city has grown by more than 40% in the last 20 years. Collectively, Amsterdammers currently cycle in the region of 2 million kilometres every day and the narrow bike lanes are having to accommodate an increasing volume of bicycle traffic. Overcrowded cycle racks near stations are also beginning to adversely affect accessibility.
The Amsterdam College of Mayor and Alderpersons has decided upon the accelerated introduction of additional measures to assist cyclists in the city. These measures complement the Long-Term Cycle Plan (Meerjarenplan Fiets) that provides for 40,000 additional bike parking spaces and 15 kilometres of new bike lanes in Amsterdam. The new measures include research into the introduction of so-called ‘green waves’ for cyclists to improve the flow of cycle traffic, providing cyclists with extra space at crossings and the appointment of an official responsible for coordinating the removal of disused bikes.
The College has also decided to research additional measures that could prove effective in Amsterdam, such as a large-scale drive to remove disused bikes from cycle racks, the extended introduction of a maximum permitted time at cycle parking spaces (already in effect in some places in the city), additional (temporary) cycle parking facilities near Amsterdam Central Station and pop-up bicycle storage locations which can be set up as and where required.
Alderperson Maarten van Poelgeest (Traffic) commented on developments: “Amsterdam benefits from more people using bikes and has a pressing need to create additional space for cyclists. Cycling is cheap, fast and clean while it also helps improve accessibility in the city. In addition, the increased bicycle usage in the city equates to annual savings for Amsterdam of €20 million on public transport and another €20 million on car infrastructure.“
These new short-term measures complement the Long-Term Cycle Plan 2012-2016. As part of the long-term plan, underground bike storage facilities aimed at tackling bike parking issues at Amsterdam Central Station, around Leidseplein and along the ‘Rode Loper’ areas of the city (corresponding with the route of the new Noord-Zuid metro line) should be completed in 2016. The new bike storage facility under the Mahlerplein near Station Zuid will be able to accommodate 3,000 bikes and should also be nearing completion in 2016. Also in 2016, a total of 800 additional bike parking places will be available in public space near the other railway stations in the city. The cost of the additional measures will be covered by the funds made available for the Long-Term Cycle Plan 2012-2016.
Investment until 2020
Together with parties including Prorail and Stadsregio Amsterdam, the City of Amsterdam will be investing nearly €120 million in the period up until 2020 in order to tackle major issues relating to bicycle parking and the cycle network in the city. €90 million of this will be used to create the 40,000 planned new bike parking places. Running through until 2040, a total of approximately €200 million will be required and of this, €170 million will be used to further improve bicycle storage.