Improving cycling is not always about building big bridges or developing high tech innovations. Sometimes a missing link in the cycling network can be fixed by the simple removal of just a few car parking spaces. That is exactly what happened in the city centre street in ʼs-Hertogenbosch that I’d like to focus on in this week’s post.
If you didn’t know any better you’d think the street had always been this way. The tiny Sint Jorisstraat (Saint George Street) in ʼs-Hertogenbosch has existed since the middle ages. Its name dates back to a chapel of Saint George that was already there in 1411, the date of the first written record. The street is full of monumental buildings, national and municipal, one of which was a fire watch house, with a pump to pump water from the small river that flows under and behind the houses of the city. Sadly the chapel was sold long after the reformation and its final remains were demolished as recent as 1964. The homes in the street were in a deplorable state in the 1960s. This was the time the city planned a main road in this tiny street and that would have meant that one half of all the buildings would have had to be demolished. A corner home was already removed and left a big gap that was only filled again in the mid-1980s after the plan to build a network of main roads in the historic centre was abandoned like it was in so many Dutch cities at the time. All the houses have since been restored and the street is in a perfect condition now.