By: Sammy Alshawabkeh, Alex Bender, Alex Trzaskowski, Anthony Scotto, Clare Creedon, Erin Dillmann, Ethan Rice, Jackson Lynch, Jude Arbogast, Justin Clark, Lindsey Vazquez, Max Corwin, Nick Brunetto, Rick Anderson, Yuhao Gu
Figure 1: Northern Neighborhoods Traffic
The neighborhoods of Zeeheldenkwartier and Willemspark lie just to the north of Hague Centrum. They are dense, transit-oriented 19th century neighborhoods which are primarily residential, but also feature a number of attractive parks, monuments, and museums, making the district appealing to residents and visitors alike.
When these streets were being built, they were planned to be wide and spacious, to allow light between buildings and to streamline tram operations. This was not meant to accommodate car travel, however, as decades would pass before roads were engineered primarily for motor vehicle traffic. However, a few streets in this area appear to have been redesigned for through car traffic, with wide, multi-lane cross sections, and limited accommodations for pedestrians and cyclists. This small handful of streets is incongruent with the pedestrian friendliness and accessibility of the Hague’s inner neighborhoods, and prevents the district from being completely safe for all users.
We propose a redesign of those streets which damage the pedestrian and bicycle accessibility of the neighborhood. The streets which we will specifically redesign are Zoutmanstraat, Mauritskade, Alexanderstraat, and Elandstraat. In our report, we will outline the street’s existing conditions, particularly those design elements which we propose to change. We will propose detailed changes to the street’s design, as well as the intended changes that they will cause on the overall street network. In our design, we will take into account an expansion of the area’s existing green space, and will consider placement of bicycle and car parking, preservation of existing public transit options, and the accessibility of destinations within our project area.
Figure 2: Existing Conditions on Zoutmanstraat
Zoutmanstraat is a heavily utilized neighborhood principal in Zeeheldenkwartier, which serves the dual function of being a local street as well as a neighborhood shopping destination. Its importance to the region is highlighted by the fact that the 16 tram route runs down its entire length (Figure 2). Currently, it is a 1 + 1 mixed traffic street with cyclists sharing the travel lane utilized by both motor vehicles and trams (Figure 3). Storefronts line both sides of the street, and curbside parking is immediately adjacent to the travel lane, creating a potentially dangerous situation for cyclists. Zoutmanstraat stretches from Elandstraat to Laan van Meerdervoort, with the southern and northern legs divided by a central roundabout at Prins Hendrikplein (Figure 5). Because the street is relatively wide for a cross street and carries bidirectional traffic, it is a convenient cut through for drivers moving to and from the city center who want to bypass the ring road.
Figure 3: Existing Cross Section on Zoutmanstraat
Figure 4: Current Zoutmanstraat Mixed T
Due to a relatively narrow right-of-way and high multimodal traffic volumes, Zoutmanstraat is a corridor with a high potential for conflict between vehicles (Figure 4). Since there is no designated bike infrastructure other than an implied 3.5 foot bike lane between the far edge of the tram tracks and parked cars, cyclists are faced with numerous high risk scenarios. Threats posed upon cyclists specifically include getting “doored” by parked cars, wheels getting caught in tram tracks, and having to avoid the frequent trams and cars driving through the street. This provides for a shoulder-to-shoulder width in the suggested bike lane which is barely sufficient in the event of a passing tram, which does not allow for forgivingness on the part of a biker or a driver pulling out of a parking space. In terms of pedestrian safety, a single painted crosswalk on each leg of Zoutmanstraat are the only areas to cross. The lack of crossing infrastructure combined with wide travel lanes which enable cars to speed makes for difficult and dangerous pedestrian crossings. Those wishing to cross must check the bidirectional flow of cyclists, cars, and trams before deciding if it is safe to traverse the two lanes. Because Zoutmanstraat is also a significant shopping destination, pedestrians should also be able to safely cross the street midblock, and this is not currently a safe possibility due to the limited visibility caused by on-street parking and the speeds at which motorists drive down the street. In the redesign of Zoutmanstraat, consideration will be given to car and tram facilities, but improving safety for cyclists and pedestrian will be prioritized.
Figure 5: Map View of Zoutmanstraat in Relation to Ring Road
To eliminate through traffic and reduce overall traffic volume, the southern and northern legs of Zoutmanstraat will be converted to one-way streets coming out from the central roundabout (Figure 5). Local traffic can only enter through the east and west legs of the roundabout but not from Elandstraat or Laan van Meerdervoort. This encourages through traffic to use the ring road as it was intended but provides local traffic with accessibility to Zoutmanstraat if desired. As seen in the proposed cross section in Figure 5, the two-way travel lanes are reduced to a single 10 foot wide lane, shared between outbound cars and trams. Inbound trams are given their own street-level 9 foot lane, separated from car traffic by a mountable buffer to allow for passing if the vehicular travel lane is blocked and the inbound tram lane is open.
Figure 6: Proposed Cross Section for Zoutmanstraat (Two-way Cycle Track, not Bike Lane)
When present traffic conditions were observed, there was heavier bike traffic and parking incidence than their vehicular counterparts in the commercial area, justifying the removal of parking from one side of the street in order to make room for a 7-foot wide, two-way cycle track. The 1-foot buffer between the cycle track and cars will be at the cycle track level, as will the sidewalk, providing space to avoid dooring and giving cyclists additional room if they temporarily need it. Periodic breaks in the parking lane will provide space for bicycle parking as well as queuing space for pedestrian crossings, making the street a more comfortable and convenient commercial district.
Figure 7: Proposed Pedestrian Crossing for Zoutmanstraat
Two pedestrian queuing areas on both the northern and southern legs will replace the parking lane for a portion of the road, bumping out 6 feet and reducing the overall distance that pedestrians need to cross from 32 feet to 20 feet (Figure 7). Unlike the current conditions on Zoutmanstraat, pedestrians wishing to cross the redesigned street will only need to look for one direction of car traffic as well as the bidirectional tram traffic. Removing cyclists and one direction of cars from the situation makes for a simpler, consolidated decision process, resulting in an overall safer environment for pedestrians.
Zoutmanstraat is currently trying to serve too many functions in an unreasonably small amount of space. The proposed resolution will reduce motor vehicle traffic and prevent speeding cars from abusing this shortcut while pedestrians and cyclists will have a safer and more pleasant experience with significantly fewer risks. In addition to the numerous safety advantages associated with the redesign, consumers will be more open to visiting and shopping in the area, helping bolster localized economic growth.
Figure 8: Redirected Elandstraat and its correlation with the ring road
Figure 9: Cross-section of One-way segment of Elandstraat
Elandstraat is currently a one way, westbound road, which expands into a two way road near Zoutmanstraat. The current setup allows traffic to flow from Kon Emmakade to Koningskade via Elandstraat and Mauritskade, bypassing the more suitable ring roads to the North. At present, Elandstraat becomes Hogewal, and later Mauritskade, on its eastern end, and these segments of road will be evaluated separately.
In order to ensure that this street is used solely for accessing local shops and residences, and not as a means to shortcut the ring road, it is recommended that Elandstraat is demoted. Elandstraat will be converted into a one way street for its entire length.
Some changes will be made to street parking as well. The one-way section of Elandstraat can be kept mostly the same, but a few spots should be removed to make room for additional bike parking. There are several bikes parked in inconvenient spaces, such as in tree areas, which indicates that there is potential for more bike parking in the area. On the two-way segment of the road, there will be a dedicated parking lane (Figure 9). This will make room for wider sidewalks, more green space, a cycle track on the northern side of the street, and more bike parking. Currently, too many bikes park on the sidewalk in front of some storefronts on the south side, which actually leaves too little space for pedestrians. Adding more designated bicycle parking space will ensure this does not happen. One way that this can be achieved is by adding bike parking in the nearby parking garage.
Hogewall is a stretch of road that is the midpoint of Elandstraat and Mauritskade. In order to add a significant amount of green space to the area, control local traffic, and promote pedestrian and bicycle activity, that stretch will be converted to a pedestrian and bicycle park, which will contain bicycle parking and attractive seating. All of the traffic that is going down Elandstraat will then have to be diverted using permeable barriers. Anna Paulownastraat is a street that extends towards the ring road, right where Elandstraat turns into Hogewall. The road is currently running towards the city center, away from the ring road. We propose to switch the direction of the road so that cars will be diverted to Paulownastraat, and be pushed up towards the ring road, eliminating our road as a viable cut through.
Further, Paulownastraat has to be redesigned so cars cannot speed on it, which will create an environment that disincentivizes people from using Elandstraat as a detour. Because it consists of a single 15 foot wide lane, with cyclists mixing with cars throughout the road, we propose creating speed humps on Paulownastraat, which currently has none. The whole road should either be grey or red brick, with raised table crossings at intersections between Elandstraat and Laan Van Meerdervort.
Figure 10: Photo Showing the Misuse of Park Space
This redesign seeks to address, among other improvements, making Elandstraat more visually appealing. The proposed ten foot barrier which will separate the cycle track from motor vehicle traffic will be a major visual and environmental improvement over the existing layout, which is a uniformly paved surface. However, there is further room for improvement of the green space in this area using existing infrastructure and space allocation. At the intersection between Elandstraat and Piet Heinplein, there is a park (Figure 10). The park consists of a small flower arrangement, very limited seating, and a large paved area. The park is unually large given how densely populated the surrounding area is, and it is recommended that the park is redesigned to include a greater proportion of green space to paved area. Redesigning the park in this way will attract more pedestrian activity, and make the surrounding area generally more attractive. There is also ample room for a few more benches, all while keeping the outdoor restaurant seating intact. The transformation of Hogewall street into a park with permeable barriers preventing any through traffic will further increase the livability of the area.
Figure 11: Photos of Piet Heinstraat
Piet Heinstraat is a neighboring street that runs parallel to Elandstraat (Figure 11). Traffic calming measures taken on this street make it a more attractive and livable area. This can be seen by the large amount of bike parking, pedestrian traffic, outdoor seating, and lack of motor vehicles. Upon redesign, Elandstraat could look more like this.
Figure 12: Bike Lane Abruptly Ending
This picture shows the westbound bike lane ending at the garage of Albert Heijn XL (Figure 12). Cyclists have to either ride on the narrow sidewalk or share the road with two lanes of traffic approaching a major intersection.
Alexanderstraat is currently a wide 1 + 1 street with a shared bus and tram line running through the middle of it. There is no bicycle infrastructure in place, bikes share the road with the cars. The road itself is brick, which appears to be an attempt to slow cars down, but because the road is wide and there are no other speed control devices, cars can still drive fast on it. There is parking on certain parts of the street, as well as a parking area by the rotary. The central zone of the street is occupied by both trams and buses; it would not be feasible to move or reroute the trams, as a result the central zone is left untouched in our design.
Figure 13: Existing Alexanderstraat Cross Section
Figure 14: Proposed Alexanderstraat Cross Section
As the major changes in our design are made through eliminating through-traffic, only minor changes have been made to the cross section of the street. A raised parking lane will replace the current parking lane on street level and the brick pavement treatment on the street will remain. To raise the parking lane, the curb must be moved further towards the travel lane, effectively narrowing the lane. A narrower travel lane will help to encourage slower speeds. In addition, more speed control devices such as speed humps in series will be put in place to ensure cars are not able to accelerate above 30 km/h. This speed limit will be self-enforcing based on our design. Also, because speeds will be sufficiently low and the likelihood of cyclists to survive crashes with cars at speeds below 30 km/h is high, bicyclists will be safely able to bike in mixed traffic. Where there are transit platforms on the street, the travel lane will still be narrowed to eleven feet but there will be no car parking as the additional space alongside the road would only be three feet.
Figure 15: Existing Conditions on Alexanderstraat
Figure 16: Inspiration: Da Costalaan, Rijswijk
Using the Da Costalaan Neighborhood in Rijswijk as inspiration, we plan to place concrete bollards in the roundabout so that vehicles coming from Alexanderstraat and Sophialaan can only continue to the right when they enter the roundabout. The trams, buses and bikes will still be able to continue straight on Alexanderstraat, but the cars will turn right onto Sophialaan. Sophialaan currently has a section in the street where a car could turn around and continue straight through Alexanderstraat. We propose concrete bollards at this location to channelize traffic and prevent this action from occurring. In order to make the road seem narrower, we proposed a raised parking lane on both sides of the street where there is already existing parking. Alexanderstraat would no longer function as a fast and efficient cut-through street, and would force traffic out towards the center ring because there will be no direct passage for cars past the roundabout.
Figure 17: Motor Vehicle Flow per Proposed Design
The figure above displays the motor vehicle flow for our proposed design of Alexanderstraat (Figure 17). The blue arrows show the right-only motor vehicle flow through the intersection. As the motor vehicle enters into the roundabout intersection from Alexanderstraat and Sophialaan from either side of the block, their only option once they enter the intersection is to turn right and continue out of the block. This design restricts each entering motor vehicle to just one quarter of the entire block while the shared bus and tram line running through the middle of Alexanderstraat remains untouched. The yellow highlighted sections represent the sections of the Alexanderstraat where we will obstruct the movement through the roundabout. The pink highlighted sections on Sophialaan represent sections where we will also restrict traffic so that drivers can not turn to continue straight on Alexanderstraat. Overall, the design makes it inconvenient for though going cars, but does not have a negative impact on destination traffic.
Figure 18: Overview of Alexanderstraat to Sophialaan
Figure 19: Restricting Traffic on Sophialaan
Mauritskade currently features a 1+1 road with a cycle track on the north side and 5’ bike lanes on the opposite side. West of Alexanderstraat, however, the street’s cycle track is replaced by a bike lane. The relatively wide travel lanes (between 10 feet and 11 feet throughout) and straight course, which lasts for over half a mile, encourages both speeding and through traffic, which make the street an unsafe environment for users who are not driving cars.
The goal of this redesign is to limit the traffic that can use Mauritskade as a through road while beautifying the street and making it more friendly for cyclists and pedestrians. To accomplish this goal, Mauritskade will be demoted to a one way, westbound street for cars. This one-way will not continue into Hogewal, however, as all vehicular traffic is proposed to be diverted from that segment of road. Instead, westbound traffic down Mauritskade will either be diverted south to Noordeinde or north to Zeestraat. This would still allow the residences and businesses in the neighborhood to be served by car, but discourage through traffic to shopping destinations on Elandstraat or Zoutmanstraat, miles down the road. Because the design prevents through traffic on local roads, taking the ring road to travel from one neighborhood to another will become an attractive option. The figure below shows the proposed traffic redirection in the neighborhood.
As previously mentioned, the redesign redirects one-way traffic down Mauritskade to Zeestraat, which then carries one-way traffic all the way to the ring road. To enforce this traffic pattern, bollards will be installed at the intersection of Hogewal (where Mauritskade ends), Zeestraat, and Noordeinde until construction is completed. These bollards will function as a permeable barrier, so that bikes can pass through them and will be able to use the full extent of the street. At the bollards, cars will be diverted to north-south roads to continue their journey east or west on a main road like Javastraat or the ring road S100, two blocks north of Mauritskade. Once construction is completed, Hogewal will be converted to a linear park along the canal to make a scenic route for bicycles and pedestrians. Cars will not be allowed to use this street anymore, and will be forced to use larger, multi lane East-West roads or the ring road. There are four businesses along Hogewal that currently have parking access. In the future, these businesses will be served almost exclusively by bicycle and pedestrian customers. The only business that needs car access is the kitchen furniture store, which currently is adjacent to an access road that it can use for parking and deliveries.
There is also parking on the south side of the street for the adjacent shops and residences.
Figure 20: Map of Mauritskade
In existing conditions (Figure 21), Mauritskade features two 10 foot travel lanes. A five foot bike lane runs next to the street on the south side, while on the north side a six foot separated cycle track is present. The bike lane is not very safe for cyclists due to the high average daily traffic (ADT) present on Mauritskade. Additionally, there is parking on the south side of the street, adjacent to businesses, which also threatens the safety of bicyclists riding the eastbound bike lane. This is because the current “reach” from the curb adjacent to parking to the edge of the bike lane is only 11.5 feet wide. For bikers to be safe from being doored, a minimum reach of 14.5 feet is preferred. Bicycle and car parking is abundant through the area, providing access to the shops and residences along the south side of the street.
Figure 21: Existing Conditions of Mauritskade
Mauritskade is being demoted to a local road to discourage through traffic and slow down any remaining traffic. As shown in the corresponding cross section (Figure 22), the formerly 1+1 street design will be reduced to a one way, single lane westbound road. Planting strips will separate the road from the cycle tracks and sidewalks. The width which was once allocated to the second travel lane will be redistributed for other purposes: Some of the additional space allows the planting strips separating vehicle traffic from the cycle tracks to be 7 feet, 6 inches wide. Furthermore, the bike lane on the old eastbound side of the street can be upgraded from a 5 foot bike lane to a 6 foot cycle track. The narrow travel lane and speed humps, placed approximately every 450 feet, will help keep traffic speeds low. With this design, shops will still receive both vehicle and bicycle parking, and safety for cyclists will be improved due to the separated bicycle facilities in both directions. The wide planting strips will beautify the area, providing a canopy for pedestrians and increasing the appeal of nearby businesses.
Figure 22: Proposed Design of Mauritskade
Figure 23: Plan View of Mauritskade
Figure 24: Plan View of Mauritskade at Alexanderstraat
Overall, our proposed redesign of the four streets complement each other very well. In order to work towards making The Hague a truly healthy and sustainable city, we prioritized green spaces, pedestrian friendliness and bike friendliness, and reduction of car traffic by bundling traffic on designated high-capacity roads. We also ensure that our design still maintains accessibility of core economic developments in the area, whether by car, bike, or foot. The northern part of the inside of The Hague has a lot of potential to be a thriving economic sector while still giving people a sense of livability, security, and fresh air. Because our design focused on cutting through going car traffic on all four roads, we believe this can be an impetus to shift the mode-share to more sustainable alternatives, such as bicycle and public transport. The two tram lines that run on a North-South axis in our design area will not be hampered in any way, ensuring the capacity could handle hopeful increased ridership. Also, since our design focuses on four concurrent redesigns with interdependent traffic patterns, we ensured that our focus remained broad: By using this opportunity to redesign for reduced through traffic to accommodate the needs of local and crosstown bicyclists, we expanded the neighborhood’s bike network and ensured the safety of cyclists on the district’s busiest, widest streets. By having a strong cycle network in our design area, we can provide the impetus needed to make more residents choose cycling over driving. This is why our design improves bicycle facilities on all streets and enables through-going bicycle traffic via cycle tracks and permeable barriers through parks.
Our conversion Hogewal into a linear park presents many benefits in one package. First, we give the area a large, spacious, peaceful green space which is surrounded by dense residential and commercial space. It also provides a barrier between the alternating one ways proposed for Mauritskade and Elandstraat, separating and diverting car traffic but preserving through going bicycle traffic. Since parallel routes to busy car traffic are attractive to cyclists, we predict this redesign will appeal to a large share of crosstown cyclists . All 4 streets are parallel to a section of the heavily traveled ring road. Our design also take bicycle parking into account, presenting the community with options of narrow linear parks and bike parking along the sides of streets.
Finally, we didn’t want to completely shut out the car; the design focuses on promoting a very car-lite neighborhood. The only cars that are using these roads should be destination traffic, and our design takes this into account through our road demotions.
If this design was to be implemented in The Hague, we would push for it to be a true collaboration between traffic engineers, landscape architects, and urban planners. This, then, will ensure all factors such as urban density, attractiveness, and feasibility will be taken into account. Our proposed design has laid the foundation for just that.