Independence Day in The Netherlands
Trip to Rijswijk
American Independence Day is obviously not a holiday in The Netherlands — so this was another day of field work (though we did end with a BBQ). The whole group (30+ people) biked from Delft to Rijswijk, a small city just north of Delft, between Delft and The Hague (Den Haag). We rode most of the way along a canal and saw some interesting infrastructure along the way.
First, the facility we rode on was a two-way cycletrack sandwiched between a large canal and a local access road. The local access road (Delftweg) used to be a through road for motor vehicles, but now through traffic is diverted at a number of points along the road to make other through routes more desirable for drivers.
Besides motor vehicle volumes being lowered by the diversion measures, traffic is also calmed by the narrowness of the road (2 vehicles can barely fit side by side) and design features like the “Bayonette”, which acts much like a chicane, but also includes an elevation change component.
Further along the route to Riswijk, we saw what a protected intersection treatment looks like at the junction of two high traffic roadways. The protected intersection carries the physical separation of protected bike lanes/paths (AKA cycletracks) through the intersection to the greatest extent possible. Right and left turns can be made by bicycles in a more physically separated environment, and through movements are still simple. Signalization also catered to cyclists by giving them an advanced green, which gives cyclists a head start and puts them in position to be visible to turning automobiles.
Rijswijk City Hall
We were then given a look at a few areas in Rijswijk that presented unique transportation issues by a city traffic engineer. One of them was outside the Rijswijk train station, which presented issues in linking up with local transit, bicycle, pedestrian, and automobile modes. A multi-lane, nearly impossible to cross arterial was separated by mode to make crossings for pedestrians and cyclists easier — as they only have to cross one lane at a time, and the crossing is signalized.
An American BBQ
After a long day, we were treated to an American style BBQ outside the civil engineering building in TU Delft — thanks to Peter Furth and Northeastern University. In thanks we all sang a few patriotic tunes.
Saturday in Amsterdam
While not officially part of the course program, we spent the day in Amsterdam learning about some of the city’s transportation history and getting a feel for its streets and culture.
I was surprised how easy it was to hop on the train that morning from Delft (the train station a 15 minute walk from the Hostel) and take frequent, , comfortable, high quality rail transit to Amsterdam in under an hour. After arriving in Amsterdam and marveling at the spectacular train station, we went to rent our bicycles for the day in A’dam.
Cycling Tour with Pete Jordan
We (about seven of us) were fortunate enough to be given a group tour of Amsterdam’s bicycle transportation history by none other than Peter Jordan, who is the author of the book I posted on a couple of weeks ago. Peter’s tour was very informative, and it was awesome to get the intimate experience of him guiding us around to both historical sites and sites that held meaning for him since he had moved to Amsterdam in 2002 from Portland.
A special favorite was the ride under the Rijksmuseum, a site which came up frequently in his book.
Wandering the Streets
After the tour with Peter, we grabbed some Dutch pancakes with Prof. Bertini, and preceded to wander around on our bicycles. We passed through the city center as well as some of the more residential areas of town, and I was very impressed by the city. It was beautiful and full of all kinds of life.
Semi-Final Game vs. Costa Rica
We also stuck around in Amsterdam to watch the pulse-pounding Netherlands vs. Costa Rica match. It was tough to find a seat, but we did end up finding one in a nice bar by the Dam Square. Once again, it was great to see how excited the Dutch got for their country’s team.