Today’s Solutions: May 21, 2022

Aside from its beautiful canals and delicious Stroopwafels, Amsterdam is perhaps most famous for the masses of bikes that voyage through the city. To make life easier for bikers and pedestrians, Amsterdam has been instituting policies towards its ultimate goal of becoming a car-free city.

In addition to its plan to ban all diesel and gas-fueled vehicles by 2030, the municipal legislature also proposed infrastructure changes such as narrowing streets, eliminating parking spaces, and expanding the Metro hours for all night operation starting weekends in 2021. The Metro will also offer free weekend transportation for children under 12.

One of the most revolutionary components includes adding “cuts” (knip in Dutch) which close off streets to passenger vehicles and only allow delivery vehicles to enter. Additionally, the city will ban taxis from entering the city center unless completing a specific job, eliminating passenger-less cars from milling about.

Amsterdam’s plans may seem radical, but the city’s expansive bike and public transportation infrastructure accommodate the transition. As is, only 19% of residents use personal vehicles on a daily basis. These large scale green infrastructure adaptations are critical for facilitating sustainable cities of the future, while still accommodating the transportation needs of citizens.

Something we have to consider when supporting these bans is that it’s not great for everyone. There are many people who rely on driving for a living, and their lives will undoubtedly be affected negatively by such bans. These are, unfortunately, some of the growing pains that come with trying to make a city greener and more pedestrian-friendly.

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