1. Roundabout with tram through the middle
Amsterdam, Hugo de Groot Plein This busy traffic light controlled intersection was a blackspot until it was converted into a roundabout in 2007. Remarkably, a tramline crosses the roundabout through the middle. Since the redesign, the road safety has improved and the quality of the public space has improved. Commissioned by the city of Amsterdam MLAdvies made an evaluation about the functioning, the road safety and the perception of the roundabout.
Hugo de Grootplein is the intersection of 2nd Hugo de Grootstraat (50km/h, segregated bike lanes, part of the main networks for car, public transport and bike, radial route to the city centre) and Frederik Hendrikstraat (50km/h, segregated bike lanes, free tramlane, part of main network for bike and public transport, tangential route through 19th century belt of the city).
3. Lay out
The roundabout has segregated bike lanes of 1,9m width and all traffic on the roundabout has the right of way. There is buffer space for one car between the car lane and the bike lane. The center of the roundabout is elevated, the middle hill.
The tram crosses the roundabout via a cut through the middle hill. The tramstops are in both directions just before the roundabout. When a tram comes a traffic light (only yellow and red) stops all other traffic to let the tram pass.
4. Functioning of the roundabout
The roundabout works like a conventional priority roundabout. The speed of the car is reduced, the traffic flows fairly evenly, the priority is clear and mostly well respected. However pedestrians at the zebra crossings do not always get priority from cyclists and cars. Cyclists indicate (with their hands) urprisingly often if they plan to turn or follow the roundabout.
The flow of traffic is good, even in rush hour. Only after an opening of the nearby Belt Bridge over the Kostverlorenvaart there may be some congestion.
Just like on regular right turns, vehicles with closed sides leaving the roundabout have poor vision on ongoing cyclists and pedestrians.
5. Tram crossing the roundabout
When the tram comes a stoplight (only orange and red) stops all other traffic for the tram to pass. The stoplight is supported by a bell ringing, This measurement is well understood and in general well respected. Cyclists and pedestrians sometimes run the red light when they see the tram is still quite far away to make the crossing.
6. Second tramcrosing needs attention
The second crossing of the tram, passed the middel hill, asks for attention. The trams comes from an unexpected angle and has picked up some speed. Mainly cyclists and pedestrians don't expect that. even more so because the view on the tram can be blocked by high vehicles wating for the red light. Also the bell at the traffic light comes from a different direction then the tram. This problem can be prevented if all trams ring their bell when the come to the second crossing.
7. Verkeersveiligheid verbeterd
The road safety has improved since the roundabout was made in 2007.
8. More quality of space
Pedestrians, cyclists and drivers are in the large part very positive about the roundabout. They find it pleasant and safe to use with lower speeds. They find the roundabout much better than the former intersection with traffic lights.
They also find the public space better and nicer: less noise, and a more pleasant place to be.
Since the rebuilding of the square several popular pubs and restaurants with terraces came to the square.
9. New challenges
The populairity causes some new challenges: when the terraces are full, there are also many bikes parked on the square. Thiy sometimes blick the way of pedestrians.
Also, the bikepaths of 1,9m widthe are a bit narrow for the growing numbers of cyclists.
Bicycle Dutch made a video and article about the roundabout. Not so much about the tram trhough the middle but about the general idea of a busy priority roundabout with good bicycle facilities.http://bicycledutch.wordpress.com/2013/05/09/a-modern-amsterdam-roundabout/