Saturday 06 June 2020

Corona crossing: new pedestrian traffic rules provoke mixed reactions

Graffiti in the Vondelpark has been encouraging informal distancing too Photo: D Nicholls-Lee

Cities in the Netherlands have been experimenting with guiding people back to the shops in a 1.5m society, with ‘roundabouts’ for pedestrians and proposals to let people walk in the bike lanes and put bikes in the road.

Utrecht raised some eyebrows at the weekend when it asked people to respect one-way walking and go around miniature roundabouts, according to RTV Utrecht.

Traffic wardens were on hand to guide people around such unfamiliar sighs as eight traffic barriers making a one-way roundabout, with mixed reactions. Arjan Kleuver, from Centrum Management Utrecht, was positive. ‘I’ve stood watching for a while and I think it’s going well,’ he told RTV Utrecht, adding that it was nice to have life back in the city centre now that more shops had opened.

Others, however, likened the situation to a recording for Bananasplit, a 1980s Dutch version of Candid Camera.

Meanwhile, Amsterdam is drawing up final plans to shift traffic dramatically in order to respect the new requirement for people to keep 1.5m distance from one another.

It has announced that it is going to reduce the traffic speeds on some streets from 50kph to 30kph, put bikes in the normal traffic lane and encourage pedestrians to walk in the bike lanes. It is also, according to mayor Femke Halsema, considering closing some streets entirely as play spaces for children.

A spokesman confirmed to DutchNews.nl that the plans have been approved and they are drawing up the precise details. DutchNews.nl has contacted Utrecht city council for a comment

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