JUL 27, 2017
Over the past few years, Amsterdam has been caught in a minor existentialdebate.It boils down to this: In planning for the future, should the Dutch put more emphasis on the city’s role as a lynchpin in the national economy? Or should the day-to-day lived experience of citizens take top priority?
Given the gravity of the questions, the object that provoked them seems small and unlikely: a singlebridge.
The bridge hasn’t been built yet, butit would cross the so-called River IJ in central Amsterdam (at this point, it’s really a narrow bay). Advocates for a new cycle bridge—who include both the city’s government and most of the political opposition—insist that it’s vital to speed up and decongest transit to the city’s north, making it an altogether more livable area.
Opponents, meanwhile—including the country’s minister for infrastructure and environment, the inland shipping industry, and the port authority—say the city must build a tunnel instead, because a bridge would hinder shipping access to the very asset that put Amsterdam here in the first place: the port.
After years of wrangling over the issue, the city council finally decided Friday that it won’t just build a bridge—it’ll build two.