How did Groningen achieve such high levels of cycling?

This fascinating film by Clarence Eckerson, Jr. talks about Groningen, a city made up of 190,000 people where 50% of people cycle everyday into the city centre.

I sent a link of Clarence’s video to my local council asking if we could achieve the same things in Sutton and they came back asking “any ideas on how we could bring it about?”

Clarence’s film helpfully goes into some detail about this.

Facts from the film

  • Groningen is an old city with 190,000 habitants.
  • Its a university city where 50% of its population are students
  • The city has been a fortress city for 1000 years constraining development which as a result has made the city compact.
  • In 1972 a left wing local government came to power and focused on transport policy for the city. Their vision is for the city centre to be a living room and a compact city.
  • In 1977 the local governement implement a circulation plan for the city, dividing the city into four quarters, making cars drive around the city centre and park on the periphery.
  • Pedestrians and cyclists can go through the city centre.
  • Large parts of the city centre are pedestrianised
  • Park and ride schemes are set up so people can park outside the city centre

Other facts

  • Groningen municipality research showed in 2008 78% of residents and 90% of employees now live within 3 km of the city centre. Investments include: expanding the network of cycling lanes, improving the pavements, bridges for cyclists, more bike parking facilities – make cycling faster and more convenient in the city.
  • Between 1989 – 2000, €23 million Euros has been invested in cycling in Groningen
  • Groningen was not always like this. In the 1950s and 1960′s vehicular traffic and urban sprawl was growing.

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