Lessons From Amsterdam

Background Reading


Cars Are Permitted Even When Space Is Limited.

Cars Are Permitted Even When Space Is Limited.

1. Cars are still permitted even when space is limited.

2. When you don’t want cars, use barriers to keep them out.

3. Not all cycling routes are separated from vehicle traffic.

4. Retail streets still survive and in fact thrive.

5. Parking and vehicular access is provided on almost all retail streets.

6. Bike lanes do not prevent crucial business deliveries.

7. Street widths in Amsterdam are comparable to North America.

8. Transit stops and bike lanes can mix.


Looks as if the Dutch perspective is more evenhanded than that of the Urban Cycling Movement here. The latter appears to want to remove cars altogether from streets. The Dutch seem willing to accommodate both transportation modes even when space is tight. Smart!

As for retail stores it seems possible for the Dutch to provide easy access not only for those on bikes but in cars as well. Another smart idea!

Now if we can only get the hardliners in the Urban Cycling Movement to be as flexible. Their stridency is going to drive away the average motorist from being supportive of bicycle infrastructure, if it means having to limit their options.

And has anyone thought about the question of having to move hundreds of thousands of people in, out and around the city if there is ever a catastrophic failure of mass transit lines? Something as innocuous as a strike could mean thousands are stranded with no way to get into our out of the city but by automobile. Bikes are not going to be suitable alternatives if the people coming into the city are using trains and buses but with no bikes.

Something to think about.