Wednesday, July 22, 2015

Del. Ken Plum's observations on biking in Europe

Del. Ken Plum is a neighbor of mine and he often sees my wife Kerie and I riding past his house. We've discussed the importance of bicycling as a part of our transportation network and he is very supportive of bicycling as a mode of transportation, including agreeing to participate in the Bike/Car/Bus Challenge in 2011 when Kerie and I rode our bikes to the Reston Town Center from our neighborhood in less time than it took Del. Plum to drive there.

In his latest newsletter Del. Plum discusses a recent trip he and his wife took to Europe. He noted the prevalence of biking in the Netherlands:
I always pay close attention to how other countries deal with their transportation needs. Never have I seen as many bicycles as there are in Amsterdam. Multiple levels of covered parking for bicycles at the airport and train station accommodate thousands of bicycles. Most every lamp post, park bench, and railing had bicycles chained to it. Checking on my observations when I returned home I found that Amsterdam and other Dutch cities are the most bicycle-friendly in the world.

There are more than 22,000 miles of bicycle lanes in the Netherlands with more than a quarter of all trips made by bicycle. That number is 38 percent in Amsterdam, a city of about a million people, and in the university city of Groningen 59 percent of all trips are by bicycle. A typical street scape in Amsterdam would include a narrow lane for automobiles, bicycle lanes in both directions, trolley rails, and a sidewalk for pedestrians. Men and women dressed for work were among those on bicycles as were many seniors. Spending a couple of days there makes it obvious why it is considered one of the best cities in the world in which to live.
This is a video segment showing what rush hour looks like in one town in the Netherlands, Utrecht:

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