City of Utrecht Our policy on cycling
The challenge of becoming a world-class bicycle city
How can we encourage even more people in and around Utrecht to use their bicycles? By organising specific activities and by taking measures included in the ‘Utrecht - we all cycle!’ Action Plan. ‘Utrecht -we all cycle!’ is Utrecht’s response to the challenge of becoming a world-class bicycle city.
The ‘Utrecht -we all cycle!’ Action Plan includes a package of concrete measures and is indicative of Utrecht’s ambition until 2020. The major and minor activities associated with these measures have already been planned by the municipality. New activities resulting from the City Discussion are added. By the end of april, the city council will decide on a decision about this Action Plan and the content will be shared online.
To a vigorous city by bicycle
It is our ambition to create an essentially different city: a city that is healthy, sustainable, accessible, liveable and attractive. A city that is performing well in terms of quality of living, with clean air and less traffic noise, which contributes to a favourable climate for new inhabitants and businesses. Making Utrecht the ideal bike-friendly city requires innovations. With the construction of the largest bicycle building in the world well underway and boasting the first Parking route for bicycles, Utrecht is creating more space for bicycles and a better bicycle and cycling experience.
Cycling represents freedom; freedom for everybody to move through the city in a way that is convenient, pleasant and cheap. ‘Best cycling city in the world’ means that people of all ages be able to cycle safe and that even more people opt for using the bicycle, also between Utrecht and its neighbouring municipalities.
Utrecht has a population of 328,000. The city is part of an urban area with over 650,000 inhabitants. It is an area with a huge growth potential for bicycle traffic. In this context, therefore we cooperate with our neighbouring municipalities and the province. We aim at doubling the use of bicycles in commuter traffic by 2030 (compared to 2011). About 60% of the working population lives less than15 kilometers from their place of work and can go to work by bicycle.
With the ‘Utrecht – we all cycle!’ Action Plan we elaborate on the coalition agreement and the policy paper ‘Utrecht Attractive and Accessible’, as decreed by the City Council.
Coalition agreement ‘We Create Utrecht Together’
The city council considers cycling (and walking) the most important means of transport in the city. Bicycle parking capacity is extended, and until 2018 we will build an efficient network of convenient major bicycle routes. Many pedestrian routes will be improved as well, beginning in the city centre.
Utrecht Attractive and Accessible
The ‘Utrecht – we all cycle!’ Action Plan is a tangible result of the policy paper of Utrecht Attractive and Accessible (UAA). UAA focuses on achieving the right balance between accessibility, attractiveness and livability by 2030. The municipality of Utrecht is growing and city traffic is on the increase, but space is limited.
UAA is about how Utrecht can and wants to develop in the field of traffic and mobility within this limited space. For instance, it determines where the cyclist and pedestrian get more room and which routes are the fast and logical routes for cars and public transport. The vision is also about how a smart organisation of public space can ensure that people walk or bike more often. Utrecht has to be a beautiful, easily accessible city that is great for living, work and recreation.
City discussion ‘Utrecht – we all cycle!
At the city discussion ‘Utrecht – we all cycle!’ (26 January 2015), 180 residents, entrepreneurs and organisations discussed how Utrecht could be an even better bicycle-friendly city. Many of their solutions and ideas have been included in the ‘Utrecht – we all cycle!’ Action Plan and will actually be executed in the next years.
Results of the city discussion
- The leitmotiv: the municipality is asked to choose for the bicycle clearly and consistently, for instance by separating bicycle traffic from car traffic, but also with respect to parking. Bicycle parking may sometimes take precedence over car parking.
- Bicycle infrastructure improvement does not only require large projects, but it also requires an eye for detail, for instance for the design of a bend in the road, sufficient space in front of traffic lights and the removal of unnecessary posts and bollards.
- With respect to parking there is a plea for parking spaces that can be distinguished in terms of final destination, quality and possibly also pricing rate.
- The bicycle paths are sometimes too narrow, and cyclists riding from south to north and from east to west always have to go through the city centre, which is busy so best avoided. Additionally, the routes should be easily recognisable.
- Cyclists are inconvenienced by long waiting times at traffic lights, confusing right-of-way situations and (temporary) bottlenecks and obstacles. This sometimes leads to antisocial behaviour and reduced safety. The traffic situation is sometimes complicated and complex, especially for young traffic participants.
- Cycling in Utrecht should be fun and great. Good behaviour should be rewarded, and if the situation is clear, violations should be punished.
- The participants in the discussion call on the municipality to perform more tests, try out (behavioural) measures, carry out more investigations and gather more data on e.g. route choices.