Bicycle Highway Between Delft and Rotterdam Along the Schie Canal
This bike highway provides a direct route from Delft to Rotterdam along the Schie Canal. It begins in Delft on the campus of TU Delft, and after about 14.7 km, ends at the end of the Maas Tunnel in Rotterdam. Along the way, the path runs through the villages of Zweth and Overschie.
The Route’s Segments
The route can be divided into five segments, as shown in the map below. Section A follows both Rotterdamseweg and Delftweg and consists of cycle tracks and advisory lanes. Cycle tracks make up the majority of the cycle infrastructure through the section, but there are times when advisory lanes give cyclists their space. Segment B travels through the Overschie village on advisory lanes and mixed use roads. The advisory lanes occur as you approach Overschie, while within the village only mixed use roads are provided. Segment C provides the connection from Overschie to Rotterdam. This segment consists of cycle tracks directly adjacent to the Schie Canal. Segment D consists of the cycle tracks through the city of Rotterdam. Finally the route finishes with Segment E: the Mass Tunnel. The Maas Tunnel provides cyclists with their own separate facility to cross the Maas River.
Note: clicking on route segments (thick colored lines) will provide an option to see pictures
Due to the directness of the route, and its seclusion from main motorways, it was a very pleasant ride. The bike facilities along the route were mostly separated, but where they weren’t separated, the roads carried such a low volume of cars which made for a relaxing ride. Most of the pavement was very smooth to ride on, minus one small section through the village of Overschie. As shown in Figure 1, the route featured a footbridge near the Rotterdam city border. To bridge the barrier of a canal, a small bridge was built to keep the directness of this route intact. Another bridged barrier was the Maas River, which is crossed by the Maas Tunnel underneath the river
Figure 1 – Footbridge
Lack of separated bike facilities through the villages of Zweth and Overschie were minor flaws in the route, causing some stress. Advisory lanes were provided in Zweth, where traffic calming devices helped lower speeds of cars, thus increasing my perceived safety as a cyclist (see Figure 2). In Overschie, only mixed use roads were provided. Luckily, these roads had very few drivers on them.
Figure 2 – Zweth Traffic Calming
The route was mostly easy to follow due to signs similar to the one shown in Figure 3. However, the left turn coming out of Overschie is easy to miss. It is not marked as a turn and the road continues ahead, so it was logical to keep following the road straight across the canal. Another place where the route is hard to follow is at the Maas Tunnel entrance. The cycle track just ends next to a building, but there is no signage pointing towards the building telling cyclists to continue that way. As someone who was looking for a cycle facility, it took some time for me to realize that the route continued inside the building, where an escalator/elevator would take me to the Maas Tunnel facility.
Figure 3 – Navigational Signs
The route featured :
- 4 Traffic Lights (All in the rotterdam area)
- 1 Stop to Yield to Crossing Traffic
- 8 Grade Separated Crossings
- Approximately 90% Smooth Surface Cycle Facilities
- Nearly 100% Lighting
The percent breakdown of cycle facilities is shown below in Figure 4.
Figure 4 – Cycle Infrastructure by Percent of Total Route
This bike highway was very impressive. I was surprised by how far I was able to cycle (almost 20 miles) in such a short amount of time (about 2 hours, including stops for pictures and to take notes). It was very pleasant to cycle on the separated paths and even when they weren’t separated, the ride through the quaint village of Overschie was worth the few moments of minor stress. The route was great for my leisurely ride, but I could also see commuters taking it as their daily route to work. The Maas Tunnel, a tunnel built specifically for pedestrian and cycle traffic, is such an interesting thing to see since something of that category is so rare in the U.S. The views of Rotterdam from across the Maas River (Figure 5) were well worth the ride. I also made friends with a pony on the outskirts of Zweth, as shown in Figure 6.
Figure 5 – View of Rotterdam from Across the Maas River
Figure 6 – Frank the Pony