Meeting at the Hague

Some notes from our meeting with officials at the Hague.

Present at the meeting:

  • Tristan Martin, Bicycle Co-ordinator, The Hague
  • [Tristan’s predecessor]
  • Bob Molenaar, Fietsersbond [National cycling campaign – nearest equivalent is probably the CTC in the UK]
  • Hans de Vreede, Biesieklette [Company which runs the staffed cycle parking]
  • Clare Rankin, co- Walking & Cycling Development & Promotion Officer, Cambridge City Council
  • David Bradford, co- Walking & Cycling Development & Promotion Officer, Cambridge City Council
  • Patrick Joyce, Cycling Officer, Cambridgeshire County Council
  • Lindsey Rushmore, Travel For Work Officer, Cambridgeshire County Council
  • 9 members of Cambridge Cycling Campaign

Points from Tristan Martin, Bicycle Co-ordinator, The Hague

See also the slides from the presentation.

22% of all trips are made by bike, 30% of all < 7.5 km. By comparison, Amsterdam has 35%, Rotterdam 28%, Utrecht 43% (all < 7.5 km). Den Haag has higher rates of usage in actual city centre. Aim for 10% increase in cycling 2003-2006 looks to be on course.

60% of journeys in city centre are by bus. Very little by car.

270 km cycle paths within city. 25% Asphalt. 100 km cycle lanes, 99% asphalt. In residential areas there are lanes, busy streets all paths. This total doesn’t include paths outside the city boundary.

Within the city, major routes parallel each other less than 500 m apart as a grid. Minimum width for unidirectional path is 2.1m. Despite this, some are just 1.8m because of existing conditions. Bidirectional at least 3m wide, but new bridges etc. are 4m. There is no shared use. Pedestrians have their own space. They try hard to synchronise work with other people digging the road up to prevent disruption, keep costs down and avoid digging again. Plans submitted are always cycle friendly. If not they’d be rejected.

Surfaces should always use deep red tarmac. Thin covers occasionally used if something must be installed in a hurry but it’s nt the correct way to do it.

19 manned parking locations with approx 6500 spaces between them. These spaces are subsidized and it’s also a social project providing employment. Also many thousands more unmanned stands dotted around the city, but they’re not sure how many as they don’t count them.

The new central station building is to have 6000 stands though there are just 2500 at present.

Cycle parking is designed to blend with surroundings.

Fixed budget for small scale cycle parking on request. Residents often ask. There are thousands of these small scale sets taking maybe a dozen bikes at a time. Even if it doesn’t look great, they go in because the bikes have to go somewhere.

A problem is that you can drive from motorway to city centre in just 10 minutes. 20 minutes in rush hour. All car parking is payable for non-residents.

Adding a cycle phase to lights obviously increases car waits, but that’s expected and OK. Some lights have 2 cycle phases in each cycle. Straight on cyclists normally get a green before drivers.

Most lights have buttons, some have detectors (loops). All major routes have loops.

They’re converting surfaces to asphalt to increase comfort due to complaints. It was a key item in the local elections that paths much be resurfaced.

Paths last 20-30 years and have 40 cm gravel underneath 2cm asphalt.

Bike path maintainence is prioritized before road maintainance.

There used to be a national planning requirement that all homes should have 2m2 per resident for cycle parking. This has been relaxed and it is a “big problem”. The local governments are trying to re-introduce this themselves. Some ground floor flats have converted into private cycle parking for other residents.

1M bikes per year are stolen in NL.

FIETS&STAL project. Artists are commisioned to make a hut for attendants. This is a social project.

Funded by art money and employs long term unemployed to look after bikes. €0.60 per bike per day. Would be €7.50 without subsidy. Also bicycle vault locker €7.50 a month.

OV-Fiets railway company initiative €2.50 a day hire bikes.

Can see into lockers at airport but generally not a concern that they could be used for storing drugs etc.

Also some secure cycle parking on streets with only residents having keys.

Lots of positive publicity.

Maps. 5000 1st year, 6000 2nd year, 5000 third year. “signing up for the bike”

€50M for smallish projects locally. €2-3M of that for bikes. So 4-6% of budget is spent on bikes. Large road developments funded by government are outside of this.

Never have shared use. Tried in pedestrian centre and no good. There’s mathematical formula which shows it can never work unless huge areas. Rural paths are always separate too, not just in town.

Reconstruction of roads almost always means reducing corner radii.

All residential areas are 30 km/h.

Points from Bob Molenaar, Fietsersbond

Founded 1975. 1800 members in greater Hague area, 35000 nationally.

Poor air quality due to a road on a viaduct has been an issue. 1970s had lots of influence. Declined into mid 90s. Hague financial problems and bad maintainance. Maintainance still a problem. Awareness grown due to air quality discussion. Now have more active members.

Two fietsersbond members are part of Municipal Transport Committee.

Bicycle benchmark compared comfort, directness. Major achievements.

Web site to report poor quality, lights etc. ( Details of all sent to local government. As a result there is more money.

“It’s always a money problem”.

Mainly now work with local gov who are constructive. Generally council plans well but sometimes implementation isn’t so good. Fietsersbond see all the plans.

There is also a commuter organisation which overlaps a little.

Employers pay employees travel expenses even for commutting. Some only pay cyclists and not drivers. Or the rates are the same meaning that it makes more sense to cycle.

Cycle training is only in schools and for immigrants. Esp Muslim women who are reluctant to cycle. Due in part to a high immigrant population, cycle usage is “quite low” in The Hague and that’s why they train adults.

Safety is not seen as an issue. Infrastructure makes it safe. Compulsory helmets were not seen as a possibility and in any case there was skepticism about their effectiveness.

Biesieklette also have watched cycle parking in schools. The school pays, not the kids. In 1984, 90% of children cycled or walked to school. 1995 75% now < 50 %. Many take PT instead, an increasing few drive. Secondary school mostly PT.

There are no pedestrian officers and no pedestrian organisation.