The Ranty Highwayman)
This is the latest in a series of posts about some of my adventures in the Netherlands which took place over the summer. I’ve introduced the subject and talked about roundabouts. This week, I’m going to concentrate on a city street and a typical side street connecting to it.
About 4km to the south-east of Amsterdam, in the neighbourhood of Watergraafsmeer, there is the Betondorp estate. One half contains a residential area and the other half contains the cemetery, crematorium and memorial garden of De Nieuwe Ooster. The residential area is filtered from through traffic (which has to stick to the main roads around it), but of course, one can cycle around and through the area. It’s pleasant enough of course, but it is entirely unremarkable.
One of the motor-vehicle access points into the estate is Zaaiersweg which meets the S113 Middenweg. ‘S’ roads (or stadsroutes) are city roads connecting the city to ring roads or motorways. At about 25m in width, Middenweg (photo below) crams in space for walking, cycling, trams/buses and motor vehicles. Again, it’s an unremarkable width; compare with the 32m dual-carriageway of Stratford High Street in London for example. As usual, the Dutch are not focusing on just motor traffic.
So why am I interested in a side road off an ordinary and unremarkable Dutch “city road”? The answer is that it is a very good example of how to give priority to people walking and cycling. Let’s take a look;