Monday, July 10, 2017

PSU Study Abroad Visit to Gemeente Delft

The Portland State University Study Abroad program visited the City of Delft today. Our host was Jan Nederveen, who visited Portland and Boston a few months prior to our visit. The presentation he gave focused on the planning of Delft and how they have approached the challenge of getting people to cycle more.
Traffic signals and intersections are designed specifically for cyclists.
The City had a good start in 2005 when they worked on the City transportation plan because nearly 15% of the population is students at TU Delft (a technical university) and the town is 100,000 inhabitants, so the scale of the city is very easy to cycle in because it is 5 km x 5 km, so you can get anywhere in the City with a 20 minute ride. In the transportation plan, the City used five key categories to guide transportation decisions:

  • Air Quality, 
  • Noise, 
  • Safety, 
  • Emergency Response, and 
  • Ecology 
The transportation analysis showed with these categories determined that cycling was a good way to increase the air quality. They have done a lot with cycling, but it's not the entire story. Transit is a big part of their work becuase many people are commuting to TU Delft from significant distances, the City has also invested quite a bit on transit planning. The presentation describes their investment in rail which has been centered on the main train station which is at significant cost. There has been limited work on the connections to the bus network. The bus provides some connections for people that can not cycle.

One of the massive initiatives in Delft to help them realize their goals was undergrounding the railroad that divided the main center from a significant neighborhood to the west. The largest impact of the rail corridor (200 trains per day) was the noise of the trains crossing near the homes in the area and its impact to the community.

The City recently completed the railroad tunnel that provided 4 tracks and is 2.3 km long. It provides an amazing boost to the nearby neighborhood adjacent to the station. Two tracks are operational now, but an additional two tracks are being dug out so that there won't be a need to come back later to address capacity needs between The Hague and Rotterdam.

1 Billion Euros was the overall cost of the project. 80 Million Euros were contributed by the local agency (Gemeennte Delft). The financing for the project was established because they are in the process of building 10,000 houses as a part of the project on the land that is reclaimed as a part of the railroad tunnel. Unfortunately for Delft, the housing crisis hit at the wrong time for the community and as the market returned the project has suffered from delays in the finance plan coming to fruition. Ultimately, the investment is worth the costs, because of the alternative of not building would result greater societal costs.

The project also included a high capacity bike facility separate from the other modes and bike parking facilities. In 2007, the bike parking was overloaded, even though there were 6,000 spaces. In  2016, the completed project added 2,700 parking spaces with a bike garage of 5,000 spaces!

The Delft station and an adjacent parcel that will be redeveloped in the coming years as a "Student Hotel" for students that are staying for four weeks (or something like that) and there's another plan for the Delft City office buildings were opened a few weeks after our opening.
Hey kids, let's go to the 5,000 space bike parking garage on vacation!

No comments: