Amsterdam continues to bike towards a more active and greener city
2019, November 14th
Amsterdam is pictured in the world’s eyes as a green and bike-friendly city. This portray of an enjoyable and active city is based on a strong biking mentality in the city and a series of measures that have helped develop an overall positive environment. The city’s strategy is based on the coalition agreement, which defines the goals that the city strives to achieve.
Amsterdam’s policy to foster active and clean mobility put biking at the centre of their transportation measures. The city ‘’long-term bicycle plan’’ details the city’s ambition regarding its biking policy. The main goal is to encourage and set the best conditions to foster soft mobility in the city. To do so, the municipality seeks to eliminate ‘’through transport’’ from the city centre in order to reduce pollution and congestion. To achieve such a goal, they focused on infrastructure changes, building more P+R parking facilities (parkings on the outskirts of the cities that are free if you use the public transportation) and removing the parking solutions from the city centre (7 000 to 10 000 less by 2025). This step towards a car-free city will be possible also by offering mobility solutions to the inhabitants of Amsterdam.
Cycling infrastructures are developed especially in the furthest neighbourhood of the city to enable active mobility to everyone. The city is working on increasing the path network in order to have a fully connected city with their new ‘’green network’’. To facilitate the establishment of a safe and fully connected city, priority routes are designed for each mode of transportation, buses, bikes and pedestrians, so everyone can cross the city freely and safely.
But infrastructure arrangement isn’t only related to roads. Because sometimes bike trips are real journeys and you may need to use different means of transportation, the city is increasing the solutions to be able to cross the river by bike thanks to more bike bridges or more ferry services across the IJ river, making the connection from one side to the other easier. Once you’ve got the biking infrastructures, you need to be able to use them and efficiently change everyone’s behaviour.
Amsterdam wants to encourage those who are not already biking to bike, by supporting projects willing to accelerate this behaviour change, as well as this of current bike users, especially in terms of parking behaviour. The aim is to develop more streets and underground bike parkings which are key to continue to develop soft mobility. The city also focus on regulating savage parking that is taking too much space and narrows the area that should be enjoyed by pedestrians.
Amsterdam is one of the greenest cities in Europe thanks to the numerous parks flourishing inside the city which offer a wide possibility of outdoor activities. Part of Amsterdam’s Green space policy has been to make those parks even more attractive so that young or old, locals or tourists, could enjoy them. Accordingly with an increase of the parks budget, the Green agenda mentioned an increasing in the number of pocket parks by 25% and a serious maintenance and enhancement of the access to the existing parks. Aim is to make those parks more connected by creating paths between them , thus attracting people to come, share, and enjoy their inner-city green spaces.
Inner-city parks are not only freshening the air inside the municipality but should also be seen as the remedy to face the insufficient number of sports infrastructures in the cities. Even while being an active city, with the growing population and lack of space, you can be . To face this issue, the parks and public spaces have arranged spaces dedicated to sport to compensate the lack of funds to build infinitely more infrastructures. Attributing those spaces in parks or on the riverbank gives the Amsterdammers even more opportunities to be active daily whether it is while going in a park, or while being there. In the Amsterdam’s sport policy this dedication of spaces to practice sport in parks and public spaces goes along with the need to focus on enhancing urban sports’ areas, such as skateboarding, parkour and 3×3 basketball to maximise the use of recreational areas and complete the attractiveness of the public parks.
Regarding the Dutch’s youth, the municipality has lead a proactive policy, redesigning school squares and school sports clubs as well as extending after-school sport activities. Apart from the policy of weekly physical activity in schools, children in Amsterdam are invited to discover new physical activities thanks to an initiative that seeks to make children more active. The Topscore programme offers the possibility for children to learn more about many sports if they feel interested or If their parents express an interest. The schools then coordinates with the clubs from the city to initiate the children during or outside the school hours. This programme also gives Amsterdammers the opportunity to discover the exercising areas in your neighbourhood and the activities Building bridges between schools and clubs to engage children in physical activity while young allows to set an active behaviour that the children will keep for the rest of their life.
Sport at workplaces
As bicycle is everywhere in Netherlands and particularly in Amsterdam, we can see that, according to a study lead by the government, in 2018, 48% of the daily commutes were done by bike. This biking mentality has reached the children but also the workers, and initiatives to make the biking network grows will aliment, this mentality that contributes to be active, even on working days and at your workplace.