Today’s Solutions: May 19, 2024

When you think of the world’s most bike-friendly cities, Amsterdam and Copenhagen probably come to mind first. But another contender has edged into the top tier: Utrecht, the fourth-largest and fastest-growing city in the Netherlands, where average daily bike trips number 125,000. A new short film from the transit-oriented documentary-makers at Streetfilms reveals how this city of 330,000 turned into a cyclist’s paradise. The key lies in the infrastructure.

Specialized roads and parking facilities give bike riders the upper hand over cars, which make up less than 15 percent of trips into the city center. Some 60 percent happen in the saddle. For example, a new, state-of-the-art bike parking garage beneath the Utrecht Centraal train station is about to double its available spaces to 12,000, after the first 6,000 were absorbed in less than two years. Cyclists can cruise from the street down a ramp and into their spots (just like in a downtown garage for conventional vehicles), and from there, walk onto a rail platform.

Elsewhere downtown, streets once meant for cars have been redesigned to prioritize bikes. A canal that was buried by a highway in the 1970s is now returning to its original form, with greenery, pedestrian pathways, and cycle tracks declaring Utrecht’s modern priorities. For an inside look into this biker’s paradise, check out this little documentary from the people over at Streetfilms.

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