N470 Bike Highway (Delfgauw)
On this bike highway, a cyclist can ride for 16 km almost without stopping. This facility runs underneath an underpass and through a newly built suburb in 2000. At an intersection with Zuideindseweg, the main road leading south from Delfgauw, motorists are still required to give priority to crossing bicyclists. Stop signs and raised humps reinforce this and require motorists to slow down and stop. Signs on the bike path remind cyclists to make eye contact with motorists during their approach to the intersection. The planners also make an attempt to slow mopeds on the bike highway through depressed speed humps just before the crossing. The bike highway continues eastward towards Zoetermeer along a dike, following a rural highway that is lined with permeable pavers and wildflowers. Overall, it feels incredibly convenient and safe to ride along this path given its high level of separation from motorized traffic (except mopeds). This facility would require the same amount of investment and right-of-way as a stand alone path. A bike highway does make trade-offs in terms of giving priority to bikes at crossings over motor vehicle traffic, which may contribute to potential congestion during peak hours on intersecting routes.
Buitenhofdreef and Martinus Nijhoflaan
The bikes lanes on these streets feel similar to the standard bike lanes you will find in North America, although the street configuration is markedly Dutch. Transit lines (light rail or buses) run through the center of the street and have priority at intersections. The bike lanes are painted next to single travel lanes that are access controlled, meaning that there are few driveways and crossings. Some on-street parking is located between the bike lane and the sidewalk, although it does not appear to be highly utilized. Right pocket turn lanes create some conflicts between bikes and cars at intersections, although it is well understood that bikes have priority. In terms of cost, bikes lanes are relatively inexpensive to install both financially and politically speaking because they are just paint.
This bike boulevard used to be a major thoroughfare to Den Hoorn. On one side of the canal is a one-way road for vehicle traffic running northeast towards the center of Old Delft. This side is also open to two-way bike traffic that shares space with vehicles in the street and pedestrian traffic on the sidewalk. Parallel parking for cars and bikes can be found along the canal and sidewalk. Because of the parking, the sidewalk often narrows, which makes it difficult to walk two abreast. There are certain pinch points on the sidewalk that make you wish you were walking on the other side of the canal, where a narrow street gives priority to pedestrian traffic (indicated by the blue sign seen in the bottom right photo above). This narrow street is picturesque and preferable to walk along. Both sides are primarily lined with residences, which give visitors something to look at and residents easy access to a low-stress bike route. It is possible that the canal did not exist when the street was previously used as a thoroughfare. It would be relatively inexpensive to establish a low-volume, local street as a bike boulevard because it does not require much beyond maybe signage indicating traffic restrictions and priorities.
Abstwoude path, TU Delft to Pr Beatrixlaan
For this bicycle boulevard, a low-traffic local street leads up a bicycle underpass, which is currently closed due to construction. On the other side of the underpass, Abstwoudestraat crosses a bridge over a canal before becoming a two-way cycle track. This cycle track follows a curvilinear path to TU Delft and appears to be relatively low stress except at busier crossings. The bicycle underpass would be the most expensive aspect of this facility, especially if it is a retrofit.
Ruys de Beerenbrouckstraat
During our tour, traffic along Ruys de Beerenbrouckstraat was very busy for bikes, cars, and pedestrians. At a protected intersection, users weaved around each other giving priority where needed to safely navigate the crossing. One-way cycle tracks allowed cyclists to glide through the intersection as bikes are given priority over cars. While crossing as a pedestrian or cyclist proved to be a little stressful because of the volume of the street and complexity of potential conflicts, riding along the segments was actually quite comfortable. This configuration takes up more space than providing a single two-way cycle track on one side of the street, but allows for easier transitions between intersections. In general, the one-way cycle tracks leave less room for fast moving mopeds to pass cyclists, which leaves something to be desired.
Light rail and buses move through the center of this corridor with single travel lanes, parking, and two-way cycle tracks on each side. This roadway was converted from a four-lane road into two travel lanes to better accommodate all modes using the space. The dual two-way cycle tracks allow for cyclists to easily access businesses on both sides of the street. The southern end of Papsouwselaan leads into a roundabout that gives priority first to transit, then bikes and pedestrians, and finally cars. The roundabout is easily my favorite part of the facility because you are able to ride through multiple crossings without worrying about giving priority to other users.
This parkway consists of two-way cycle tracks and two travel lanes on each side of a tree-lined median. Riding on these facilities feels similar to riding on a standalone bike path, although it is next to a busy parkway. The intersections are clearly marked and signalized to reduce conflicts between motorists and cyclists, including a left-turn box and signal for bikes. This facility is relatively low-stress considering the level of separation between motorized and non-motorized traffic and its use of signalized crossings. Building two-way cycle tracks would require the most amount of investment in funding and land to install.
Hugo de Grootstraat
The advisory bike lanes along Hugo de Grootstraat felt like riding on a regular bike lane (e.g., felt the need to pay attention to cars over my left shoulder and the door zone next to on-street parking). The most concerning part was when two cars approached while a cyclist was riding on either side. The drivers were forced to yield to not only each other, but also the cyclist since one needed to move into an advisory lane in order to safely pass. The approaching drivers did this at a faster speed than I anticipated, which indicates that they know what to expect from this roadway configuration and do not have trouble navigating it. A marked crosswalk with overhead signage may indicate that this street is not easy to cross for pedestrians given the bike and car traffic volumes.
Adriaan Pauwstraat, Westplantsoen
Along Adriaan Pauwstraat, the road width was narrowed at pinch points to slow vehicle traffic. Motorists, including buses, had to move into the advisory lanes to fit past these pinch points. These segments included a school zone, which called for extra traffic calming measures (e.g., speed humps, raised crosswalks, reductions in speed limits). Both Adriaan Pauwstraat and Westplantsoen terminate to the north at a roundabout that is shared space amongst cars and bikes.
Schimmelpenninck van der Oyeweg (Delfgauw)
There are a few features along this rural local road that are interesting to take note of. The road transitions from the village center to agricultural land. Traffic calming elements (e.g., concrete planters that narrow the roadway) facilitate this transition as cars move towards the village and enter into a 30 km/h zone from going 60 km/h. The raised white mounds are sometimes called “sleeping bicyclists” because they remind motorists to keep from potentially veering towards the righthand advisory lane and into a bicyclist. This facility is low-stress primarily because of the low traffic volumes it experiences.
Along this service road, a separate facility for bikes is not needed. The service road allows for residents in the adjacent suburban homes to park their cars and walk along a sidewalk that is separated from the main carriageway. Low traffic volumes and speeds on this street are facilitated using pavers that create a rough surface and speed humps. The design of the service road also discourages through-traffic by forcing motorists to turn, but allowing for bikes to make the connection through permeable barriers. This makes this type of facility safe and pleasant to ride along so long as you don’t hit a pothole in the pavers.