Dutch infrastructure design was just amazing. Here are some thoughts that I have from this tour:
- Bike roads are paved just like car roads and stretched out everywhere in the Netherlands, even in rural area where not many people bike through
- A lot of tunnels and signs are used to avoid traffic conflict with cars and also for safety
- Majority of bike intersections prioritize for bikers and pedestrians
- Train stations are very convenient to access and easy to use
- Trams are not only easy to use and convenient but they also get along with bikes, which means they don’t conflict with bike traffic and they help people to transport for the distance that is quite heavy for bikes
When I came back to the US, I instantly felt disappointed how poor our infrastructure was comparing to the Netherlands. Here are some thoughts that I have from the US:
- It is extremely hard to find bike roads and majority of bike roads are shared with cars
- A lot of bikers wear helmets and sportswear for exercise, not for commuting
- No tunnels and signs for bikers so bikers have to deal with cars so safety is significantly lower than the Netherlands
- MARTA train stations are dirty and only a small amount of people use trains.
- No trams are to be found
- Car traffic is beyond the control. It actually took me an hour and half to get back home. I probably could be back home in 30 minutes if I biked same distance in the Netherlands
I think geographic difference between the two countries plays a huge role for creating infrastructure design difference. The Netherlands is a small country. If the Dutch uses more cars than bikes, car traffic will be even worse than the US because of lack of space for cars. The Dutch realized this problem early and created their own way to resolve this problem, which was encouraging bikes and transit system. When we were in the Netherlands, the weather was extremely cold. If it was in the US, nobody would bike in that weather. Despite the cold weather, we saw people biking everywhere in the Netherlands because biking is their norms and culture. Their convenient bike infrastructure and system are enable for them to use bikes instead of cars.