The Netherlands is home to more bikes than people, and boasts one of the world’s most impressive bicycle path networks that spans no less than 35,000 kilometres across the whole country. This stellar reputation is demonstrated most impressively in Utrecht.
This city, a mere 20 minutes by train from Amsterdam, is consistently reducing roadways, is home to the world’s largest bike parking lot and its latest city designs include a completely car-free neighbourhood.
Prioritising people over cars
Merwede: the car-free neighbourhood
Utrecht recently unveiled its latest plans for a completely car-free neighbourhood, Merwede. The Merwede neighbourhood will home 12,000 residents and all important facilities, including Utrecht Central Station will be within walking or cycling distance.
The Merwede canal zone was originally a business park, but will be transformed over the next couple of years into a lively, sustainable area of the city. The goal of the area is to be a place where people can relax, work, and live in a way that’s environmentally friendly and also healthy. For that reason, it will be car free.
Another crucial aspect of the new neighbourhood is the idea that it will be a circular economy. That means as little waste as possible, and the use of as few new resources as possible as well. Merwede will become home to De Clique, a circular start up that will try to reuse waste from the hospitality and business sectors.
The city district looks set to be full of exciting activities that will bring the community together. There will be a skatepark, lots of nice restaurants and cafes, and a climbing hall: and all this before people even move into the neighbourhood, so it’s bound to be absolutely bustling once these plans become reality.
We’re so looking forward to seeing this car-free neighbourhood become reality! When Dutchies bike this much, it seems the most natural of progressions to transition towards a car free country.
But what do you think? Would you give up your car? Let us know in the comments below!
Feature image: Marco Broekman/Supplied.