location: Leiden city intersection, The Netherlands
music: "The Cyclist from Hell" by Kath Tait, UK/New Zealand (on the "Viva Le Trafic" cd kathtait.com)
video: Sen McGlinn + Sonja van Kerkhoff sonjavank.com
A city with a bicycle culture has a well-developed infrastructure with pathways (songlines for pedals) and facilities catering for bicycles of all shapes and sizes.
In 1939, the New York World's Fair included a model of an imagined city, built around a car-based transport system. The popularity of the car led to major changes in the structure and function of cities.
Mainstream transport planning in Europe has never been based on assumptions that the car was the best or only solution for urban mobility. Since the 1970s Dutch Transport development has required that demand for additional vehicle capacity only be met if the contribution to societal welfare is positive, and since 1990 has included an explicit target to halve the rate of growth in vehicle traffic.
We take it for granted that in the Netherlands we can cycle everywhere and where in other countries there are constant roadworks, here we have policies in action to continually upgrade cycleways in and between cities. A hill is only a problem if you make a mountain out of it.
Let's work towards cities whose songlines are pathways for those on wheels rather than for those behind the wheel.
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