Bumping along rather than making a detour

  • Soort:Nieuws Fietsberaad
  • Datum:20-05-2013

For several months the Utrecht urban geographer Jan van Duppen joined cyclists riding from Leidsche Rijn to the town centre. He asked about their experiences and habits, and while cycling with them observed the obstacles encountered on the way. He discovered that cyclists always go for the shortest route. Along the way, they often do what each motorist does: go shopping and pick up the kids from the day care centre.

Van Duppen is conducting the “Urban Trajectories” investigation, a two-year programme in which science, art, and urban design practice come together. This is an initiative supported by, among others, the Aorta architecture centre.

Planners and architects have often had a monopoly on the design of the city, but what happens when you turn the drawing board table on them? In the Urban Trajectories programme, 15 inhabitants of the Utrecht neighbourhood Leidsche Rijn share their impressions of the city as they commute along a cycling route to their work in the town centre every day. Which routes do they take and where do they encounter hindrances as well as connections en route? The observations include smells and sounds and things that stand out.
According to van Duppen, the analysis (also recorded in the website http://urbantrajectories.nl/) of the daily commuting routes demonstrates a number of important aspects of the cycling behaviour of Leidsche Rijn commuters and reports how they experience the route. The bicycle makes people more versatile. The survey respondents are mostly young parents who take their children to and from school while commuting. Cycling enables one to hop along various locations in a relatively short time span. Furthermore, cyclists enjoy being able to continue riding without being held up, which they try to avoid as much as possible.
A telling example of this last point is the preference given to the quiet, green Cremerstraat over the main cycling route. The Cremerstraat is a sheltered but rather bumpy route through the neighbourhood, but apparently this does not deter cyclists. This inner route is appreciated more than the red cycling path along the Vleutenseweg, which is supposed to be the main cycling route. Reasons given for this preference include the fact that the Cremerstraat enables them to cycle through a quiet and green route unhindered by traffic lights.
The idea is to translate the research results into practical recommendations for planners and urban developers during the course of this year.

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Bumping along rather than making a detour

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