PCCAMS 2018 Summer School

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Last Thursday, July 5th, we visited Planning the Cycling City Summer School in Amsterdam. 30 students from 15 countries learnt about best practices of Dutch cycling experience and shared their tips for the Netherlands.

During the first panel, Dutch cycling experts, Sjors van Duren (cycling consultant), Martijn Sargentini (author, expert), David Gelauff (Amsterdam Bicycle program) and Hillie Talens (CROW) shared their expertise of cycling in the Netherlands. They explained why the bicycle is important to promote The Netherlands abroad. They also pointed out how important the aspects of safety and comfort are when desinging infrastructure. These aspects are especially important when connecting city centres.

Next, students had an opportunity to choose questions for experts. One of them was ‘How to transfer Dutch cycling knowledge to other contexts?’. The students were curious about the methods and the views of people from other countries. The experts suggested to experience cycling in that place before starting to design. They also shared their experience of designing liveable streets and cycle paths, as well as defining road classification. The next recommendations were about stimulating cycling moves, e.g. during periods of street renovations. Moreover, the panel suggested to build coalitions with other stakeholders. The last question was about the current challenges and solutions of designing for pedestrians and cyclists. The solution of sharing space was considered to be the best practise. The experts agreed that it is better to design space for pedestrians and then adjust it to the needs of cyclists. After the question panel, students presented their view of Dutch cycling and shared their advices for the Netherlands. They suggested to use more bike sharing systems and create more shared space for pedestrians and cyclists close to central stations. They also pointed out the focus is too much on the cyclists and pedestrians tend to be forgotten.

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After the lunch break, the second session with Saskia Kluit (Fietsersbond), Adam Stones (BYCS), Janine Hogendoorn (Ring-Ring) focused on what happens if we change the city and how to unlock the potential for changes. The experts put the emphasis on good communication and understanding the needs of the people as the key to success. They also shared their experience of convincing people opposing cycling by showing the benefits of specific interventions. During the session, cycling experts mentioned the issue of users travelling at different speeds sharing the same bicycle lanes. After the discussion, two more groups of students suggested that despite some of the current issues, particularly the perceived lack of consideration given to pedestrians, The Netherlands should be prouder of its achievement of promoting cycling.

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At the end of the day, Janine Hogendoorn announced that, during the three weeks of this summer school, participants cycled 7789 km. This achieved distance was rewarded by Gazelle who gave two brand new bikes to Fietsen op Zuid, a project in collaboration with Gemeente Rotterdam and de Fietsersbond among others.

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