A story about putting people on foot and people on bikes at higher priority.
This tunnel runs under the Amsterdam Central Station. The reasoning is this:

The tunnel gives access to the ferry terminal right behind the Central Station. Before this tunnel was open people had to either walk through the station or ride around it to reach the ferries to the North of Amsterdam. For cycling that meant a 3 minute ride. The tunnel can be traversed in less than a minute. So it shaves 2 minutes off every journey. The railways no longer want non-travellers in their stations, so that was another reason to build a route to bypass the station building.

The project was accompanied by controversy, and its basis should ring bells of familiarity in Vancouver.  We have such shared space zones, and similar concerns, but most people are not aware of them.

There was a storm of protest when the city of Amsterdam announced this summer that the cycleway through the tunnel would end in a shared space zone. With the existing cycleway alongside the IJ there are now three cycleways ending in that shared space zone. The space needs to be shared between people walking and cycling. Most of whom are going to or coming from one of the ferries. There was even an on-line petition to try and stop this plan, but the shared space zone was built. On the opening day it didn’t even look so strange.

There is a similar tunnel in Vancouver under Georgia St., to help get people on foot and on bike between the West End and Stanley Park. But a lot more of them would make things a lot better.


  1. The odd thing about the Stanley Park underpass is that one of the two paved lanes is reserved for rollerblading (the raised lane in the photo above that is always empty). A relict from the 1990s?

  2. I like the shape of it with those rounded corners. Like a stereo system from the 1970s.
    Also the way they delineate the cycling half from the walking half is brilliant. Different grade, colour and materials. There are no signs yet everybody gets it.

  3. It’s an underpass below the railway tracks (which must be elevated).
    The same is seen in Toronto – on York St. and Yonge St. on either side of Union Station – but they are (I think) primarily pedestrian passages rather than bike and pedestrian.
    They are called “Teamways” and “Moats” – I think those are historical terms from before they were pedestrianized (?).
    In Toronto, there will be some retail opening onto the Teamway.
    They are currently being revitalized as part of the massive Union Station revitalization project.
    On the York St. side of Union Station, the City of Toronto has a new Bike Station.
    Pics of the part called the Front St. Moat:
    Pics of York BIke Station and Teamway:

  4. Having been there and used the IJ ferry to Amsterdam Noord for about a month midsummer (2012), and used the old system of riding around the station I see why the shared spaces notion was resisted. In the old way to get to the ferries, you biked on a very narrow separated bike lane where confused pedestrians wandered into bikes lanes frequently, to a very crowded plaza mixing bikes and pedestrians. Then everyone waited impatiently for the ferry and shuffled on together. Often front wheels met with heels. Everyone was pissed off from being shoved together regardless of lane designation. Just a very small space for the circulation it was meant to serve. Looks much better separated now (from Google Map streetview)…

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