HW4 Delft anthony scotto
Cycle Tracks, also known as protected bike lanes, provide a physical barrier between moving cars and bicyclists. These facilities aim to solve two fundamental human issues by limiting impacts of our mistakes, and reducing our vulnerability. The means in which bikes are separated from cars varies from place to place. In New York, they use parked cars and curbs in order to separate them. In Delft, this is unheard of, and generally curbs and landscaping separate the two. For many urban areas without abandoned train routes, cycle tracks are often the best possible situation for biker safety.
This cycle track was probably the point in the day where I felt the most safe while biking. The combination of curbs, parked cars, and trees formed a barrier that cars running at slower speeds couldn’t penetrate. The thinner lanes and stone median ensured slower driving speeds. The only vulnerable/unprotected sections of the road for bikers was when cars make right turns. This problem was solved by cars having to shift to almost a full 90 degrees before turning. This street is also contextually important, since it serves as a major thoroughfare between Wateringsevest and Pr. Beatrixlaan. With the next connection not occurring for miles in either direction, Ruys De B has the responsibility of being an efficient distributor of cars. It was very interesting how they did this without compromising bicycle transportation.
Voorhoofdreef is one of the four major roads that empties out into Delflandplein. This intersection is one of the largest in the Delft area, and has both commercial, public, and private traffic passing through. This roundabout was designed in order to give bikes priority at all times, and have cars yield to them. By having bikes surround the cars, drivers physically have to look through the bike lane in order to exit right out of the intersection. There are also shark teeth and yield signs in place to make sure that they do yield. The circle itself is very compact compared to what I am used to seeing, which limits how much speed cars can pick up. The historic constraint in this situation is the fact that a tram runs directly through it. Trams always have priority, so both the cars and bikes have separate lights that tell them to stop. The tram causes one of the very few stops forced upon commuters in the roundabout, and is definitely a tradeoff. There was also no parking immediately near the area, so that’s another example of a trade off.
Papsouwselaan is a major thoroughfare that connect N470 to Westlandseweg. It is also significant because it houses a lot of the businesses and shops in the area. Therefore, access to these businesses was made a top priority in the design of the cycle track. The curb separating the bikes from the pedestrian walk way and shops is rounded and only 1 1/2 inches in height. This provides appropriate separation of the the two, yet allows for bikes to seamlessly hop off the track. The lights are also programmed so that cars are not allowed to take right turns when bikes have a green light to go straight. Again, there was no parking on the street, which is not good for business, but is made up for by increased accessibility. If a biker decides to make a right turn, they are protected by concrete islands/medians between them and cars.
Advisory lanes, also known as suggestion lanes, are used to keep a bicycle lane presence, when there is not enough room for true bicycle lanes to be made. In order for these facilities to succeed, ADT cannot exceed 5000 cars and commercial/public transit must be held to a minimum. Although the center zone may not be wide enough to hold two cars (or even one), cars are allowed to move into the advisory lanes. The familiar dotted lines separates it from many bicycle lanes, which have un-hashed lanes. This is a great alternative for small/local streets where the conception is that bikes can’t have lanes.
Adriaan Pauwstraat is a relatively local road, with little to no commercial traffic. Given the fact that the area is very residential, parking was a priority, with both sides being kept for parking. Many of the streets branching off of this road are the red brick, which are true local streets and do not carry nearly as much traffic. The four feet advisory lanes on either side are not quite large enough to safely pass a parked car, as is the case with many advisory lanes. However, in this case we would much rather have bike infrastructure than none at all. As a cyclist, I would feel unsafe if there was more traffic on the road when we were there. With two cars passing and many people parking from work, the chance of getting hit or doored grows exponentially.
Hugo de Groostraat is a through road that connects PhoenixStraat to Pr. Beatrixlaan. The width of the street is almost wide enough to justify putting 1+1 lanes, but the cars would ride too close to the bike lanes on either side. Every car that passed rode either directly in the middle, or hugged the other side’s advisory lane. There is parking on both sides again, which makes the 4 1/2 feet zone too small to be a true bike lane. In this format, bikes have the right to go in and out of the dotted lines as they please, as do cars. Shark teeth were put in place to give people going straight the right of way, which stresses the importance of this thoroughfare. Both of the major roads that Hugo is connecting have bicycle tracks, so this is an important throughway for bikes as much as it is for cars.
Schimmelpenninck van der Oyeweg, is possibly the most rural example of bike advisory lanes that I have seen thus far. The lack of traffic on this road led me to think if we needed lanes at all. This road is straddled by both N470 and Delftsestraatweg, which are two much faster ways of going the same direction. The only real vehicular importance this road could have is for supplying and carrying out the local farm’s produce. Given that the volume of bikes most likely far outweighs cars, the middle zone is only 8 feet wide, giving cyclists plenty of room with 4 1/2 feet. I felt completely comfortable driving on this road, especially because all driveways had to cross a moat, which made them clearly visible. This road is extremely long and straight, which concerns me when it comes to using it as a detour to the highways nearby.
Also known as neighborways in places like Boston, these facilities aim to create an environment where even the most risk averse cyclists can have piece of mind. If cars are even present in bike boulevards, they are forced to go very slow and are often diverted to other streets to make the boulevard seem less desirable to through traffic. The preferred usage of bike boulevards to cyclists is making permeable barriers that only bikes can cross, essentially forming standalone bike paths. Also, making the cars only have a one way street, when bikes have contraflow traffic is a good way to inform drivers that the street is a bike boulevard.
Although we are not supposed to rely upon signs to enforce traffic rules, in this case they make a clear impact. Motorists are told that there is a dead end before they reach the other end of the road, and no entrance signs are included in the photo above. There is an permeable barrier for bikes that cars cannot pass underneath the bridge. This diverts car traffic to less direct and more narrow roads that extends the length of their trip. This road was originally a major thoroughfare connecting people to Downtown Delft and the train station. Once other methods of getting to the station were built and local residents didn’t want as much car traffic, the road was demoted. I didn’t see one car on this road, so I felt completely safe. Zig zagging in the middle of what used to be a car road was a very freeing experience. I would recommend removing the black pavement, since the road still retains the ugly look of an American road in some parts.
As soon as you turn onto Abtswoude path, you feel as if it was designed solely for bike traffic, and the occasional car for local businesses. At only 7 feet wide, the comfortable to ride on black pavement is clearly meant for cyclists and not cars. This leaves the very wide off-colored brick track to the cars, which are not comfortable to drive on. There is really no car signage at all, and the street almost looks abandoned. It could be a significant cut through road because of the bridge appearing at the end, but the measures in place keeps cars out. There is also a curb that is a few inches high which separates the bikes from cars, and at 7 feet, bikes have plenty of room. I did not see one car on this road either, which made me feel completely safe, and the pavement made me comfortable. It seems as if the only way that I can feel completely safe is by there being no car traffic next to me, its just a whole different mindset.
Bike lanes are a relatively inexpensive way to give cyclists some separation between them and cars. There is often a different color of paint used in these lanes, and they are separated using a line, or other completely permeable barriers. Multi lane bike lanes make it easier for bikes to pass when moving cars are nearby, and therefore increase speed. In the Netherlands, red paint is consistently used to show the bike’s space, and parked cars are not allowed to be on the other side of the cyclists. Cyclists rely completely on drivers to not crash into them and expose their vulnerability as humans, since there are no physical barriers between them.
Martinus Nijhoflaan is a major thoroughfare for the area, which has obviously been reduced to only 1+1 traffic. The mature trees and power lines (one of few in Delft) that make up the median prevent further extension of the road or converting the bike lanes into cycle tracks. The 6 foot bike lanes were extremely generous for one way traffic, and were a relief from the fast moving cars on my left. The 12 foot driving lanes also made it so that when cars hugged the median, it gave us an extra few feet. The fence on my right, although temporary, are dangerous for cyclists and made me feel very trapped. The fact that this road was put on a diet for the long stretches until the nodes were widened definitely kept speeding to a minimum. In conclusion, this method of bike infrastructure seemed more American to me than Dutch.
Julianalaan is a fairly major road near TU Delft that connects to the road that circle around Downtown Delft and goes through the unprotected intersection just North of TU. I use this road to go home everyday, so I definitely have a fair amount of experience using it. The lanes are only ten feet wide, and there is no shoulder to the curb, so car speed is definitely reduced. However, this road seems to go against the golden rule of no parked cars next to bike lanes. It is very noticeable throughout your ride that even smaller cars are often sticking out into the lane, and getting doored would be catastrophic since there is really no place to fall without getting run over. The mature trees and the need for residential parking makes it so that any street reform here would be unlikely. It seems as if cars are the primary goal here, and cyclists are secondary (with lanes put because they had to put them). Again, not the best example of the “Dutch Way.”
Nassaulaan is geographically close to Julianalaan, but is a much better example of utilizing bike lanes in Delft. Although the parked cars remain on the right hand side of bikers, the bike lane is slightly larger enough to make it more comfortable. There are also some significant measures taken here to reduce speed and make this road more appealing to bikes than cars. Bike lanes remain the same size throughout, but the car lane contracts at various points. This is done by inserting islands at pedestrian crossways. At only 9 feet, cars almost have to break in order to avoid the island and the possible cyclist. Parking also seems to be a necessity on this street since it is a large residential area, so it is understandable that it must stay. I would round off and reduce the curbs to the pedestrian sidewalk to make the bike lanes more comfortable to ride in.
Bike highways are the equivalent of what a highway is for a car, except exclusively for a bike. They are paved very well, with enough space to easily pass another bike going in your direction. They are often very flat, as to encourage an increase in speed compared to normal city biking. They are also meant to take you from point A to point B, with no stores or stops in between to slow you down or cause delays.
The N470 bike highway was unlike anything I had seen before. Not only were cyclists put right next to motorists on a highway, but the bike highway itself was meant for longer distances. The fact that there aren’t many stops along the way further push the fact that the Dutch truly see biking as a form of transportation. The roads were completely flat, and there were no curbs to hit your wheel on, only the occasional cow. It was visually appealing and very relaxing to be next to farms, which made the cars seem non existent. The cars were also separated by a 5 foot high grass barrier, and were only given one lane to travel. Slower buses were often in the front of a line of cars, showing the speed regulation of a one way. The only thing that concerned me was the fact that we seemed to be going nowhere important. N470 crosses through three major intersections, but the direction of the highway seemed pointless for anywhere besides Delftgauw (in realistic bike distance terms).
Service roads are designed for people who have to exit a major thoroughfare to get to either their home or a store etc. They provide a low speed road, which relieved the main road of constant stopping and traffic from people turning. It also is more desirable to have your house on a service road than a throughway, especially with children or when you have to bike. Service roads can generally be a substitute for providing biking infrastructure, since they are easy to bike on and low risk. In the U.S. people use them as an alternative to a main road when there are delays, but this can be avoided when managed properly.
The whole time I was biking on Zuidpoldersingel, I only saw one possible entrance to get on the service road. By making entrances few and far between, this disincentives people from using the service road unless they should be using it. We saw children and families playing in the service road, essentially using the side walk as an extension of their front yard. The low curbs on the pedestrian side allows cyclists to seamlessly ride right up to their homes. Speed humps and brick roads ensured that cars did not use the service lane like a highway. Trees and a curb gave protection from cars on the other side of the landscaping. This road was most likely put on a diet to make the service road, and also has no on street parking, which is a negative.