Can urban intersections be designed in such a way that motor traffic, cycling and walking flow smoothly and that the potential conflicts of these very different types of traffic crossing each other’s paths are made less complicated and less dangerous? In my opinion the answer is “yes”. Intersections are most important in making cycling safer and more attractive. They can be the weakest link in the chain that is your journey and one nasty junction can put people off cycling. In this week’s post I would like to show you a common intersection between a distributor road with protected cycleways and a smaller neighbourhood access street. How do the Dutch design an intersection between two streets like that and how does everything work?
Aerial picture of this intersection from Google maps. Google recently published 3D images from ʼs-Hertogenbosch. This is great to study the cycling infrastructure. In this post I focus on the crossing with the side street in the foreground.
I would like to emphasise that this intersection is not special in any way. You can find many similar examples all over the country. That is because the design features stem from the design manuals which are used throughout the country. This particular intersection is in ʼs-Hertogenbosch, between the recently rebuilt Bartenbrug, that I wrote about earlier, and the Graafseweg, a main street with service streets, that I also wrote about before. This distributor road has a speed limit of 50km/h, a surface of black asphalt and dedicated cycle infrastructure. Cycling takes place shared with cars on the service street and also on completely separated cycleways connecting the service street parts. The neighbourhood access street has a surface of bricks and a speed limit of 30km/h. The traffic volume here is low, since only residents will use this street. That makes mixing traffic possible and therefore there are no protected cycleways in the side street.
Drivers wanting to turn onto the main road or into the side street can wait out-of-the-way of drivers with priority on the main road.
It is easy for drivers turning into the side street to wait for people cycling. That means a driver in a Mercedes not only needs to let a child on a bicycle go first, but they really do that!