The main road into my in-laws village from the main road has a cycle track running alongside to enable cycling out towards the other villages the other side of said main road. It also is a nice way to get to the fast buses that run along the main road so as to avoid having to take the slow bus that weaves through the villages. It’s not, however, going in the right direction for central Rotterdam or the nearest Rotterdam metro station which are in any case better served for bicycles by the old road leading from the centre of the village which is more direct and no longer open to motorised traffic (and I’ve talked about before).
Here is the cycle track I’m talking about:
As you can see, close to the village the distance from the roadway has to shrink due to space and so it becomes protected by a crash barrier to keep the level of perceived safety high, whereas away from the village it is 2 metres from the roadway and “protected” by a row a trees.
These above pictures are from a few years ago. Upon visiting for New Year, I noticed that the roadway had been resurfaced. Other than new tarmac, nothing about it had changed. However, since the cycle track is deemed to be part of the same route as the roadway, it too got resurfaced.
And not just any kind of surface, no, the same super smooth surface as the roadway complete with a new centreline to reinforce the knowledge that it’s bidirectional.
If you look closely you’ll notice that they also replaced the old metal crash barrier with a new wooden barrier which is much more aesthetically pleasing (the roadway side is still metal, but clad in wood).
Also, the crossing at the end just before the village has been widened and improved, including the addition of a central tactile surface on the corner to narrow the roadway and help decrease vehicle speeds.
Why am I telling you all this? Two reasons.
Firstly, I feel that it’s important to get infrastructure right, but it’s also important to get something done and then have the forethought to improve it as time goes on and unforeseen is uncovered. Obviously there is a lower minimum of quality that must be achieved for something to be worthwhile in the first place, so we need to ask for the best when it comes to quality, but we also mustn’t rest on our laurels, everything can be made better, we must always keep on pushing for perfection and more importantly, budget for future upgrades.
Secondly, it shows how with the right systems in place, cycle infrastructure can be funded and maintained as a part of existing road infrastructure projects. Road projects should not just be about getting tarmac down to people to drive on, but about the whole public realm together as a single integral whole.