Cycling Utrecht

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In the Dutch city of Utrecht, commuters, tourists, and school children whiz to-and-fro on bikes. You’ll see cyclists wearing business suits, carrying grocery bags, and even holding umbrellas in the rain.

Van Rossem: “Our busiest route carries 41,000 cyclists a day. Cycling around is by far the best way to get from A to B.”

That’s Frans Jan van Rossem, the director of Utrecht’s Bicycle Program. He says the city is growing rapidly, so it’s been investing in bike infrastructure.

van Rossem: “At our train station, we are building right now 22,000 public parking spaces for bikes.”

Utrecht has also widened bike lanes along major roadways – in some cases by removing car parking or even driving lanes. And to help cyclists avoid unsafe, traffic-heavy areas, the city has built new bike paths.

van Rossem: “Those routes follow, for example, rivers or canals or train tracks … and they often go through neighborhoods. And very often they are a little bit longer, but they’re much nicer to cycle and there’s much less traffic.”

He says other cities can learn from Utrecht’s large investment in bike infrastructure.

van Rossem: “When you start building it, people start using it.”

And that can help reduce traffic and carbon pollution.

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