Utrecht has improved the cycle route from Overvecht in the north of the city to the University campus Utrecht Science Park. This
means that people could choose to arrive at the train station Utrecht Overvecht and continue their journey on a bicycle from there (and not from the busy central station), but it also means that students living in the huge student housing complex near Overvecht can cycle more easily to the University.
It was already possible to cycle between Overvecht and the university but the city of Utrecht feels it has made the route more attractive, faster and safer. Not all of the route runs on separated cycling infrastructure. Where you had to share the road with motor traffic the route has been converted from (for the Netherlands) ordinary traffic calmed residential streets into cycle streets. That means the roadway was narrowed and the streets have a surface of red asphalt now. Car drivers can still use these streets, but they cannot be used by through traffic and people in cars should behave like guests. This also means that people on bicycles have priority over people driving cars.
Profile of a street that has been converted into a cycle street. In the existing width of the street a far narrower roadway in red asphalt means that motor traffic must reduce its speed and behave like guest in the space where cycling has priority.
A before and after. In the before situation the roadway was 7.01metres wide. In the after situation the red asphalt is only 3.8 metres wide, even though most of the kerbs (curbs) remained in their original location.
The city of Utrecht is the fastest growing city in the Netherlands. The city is expected to grow with 50,000 people in the coming years to 400,000 inhabitants. Since the city’s territory will stay the same size this calls for clever choices and solutions regarding traffic: the more inefficient types of transport will have to get less space. Therefore, Utrecht gives priority to cycling, walking and public transport. Cars will still be allowed in the city, but through traffic will have to use the ring road around the outside of the city. The object of this improved cycle route is also to entice people to switch from the car to the bicycle and thus reduce the number of cars in the city as well.