Preparing for Oregon's Stop As Yield for Cyclists Law

Oregon’s Stop As Yield for cyclists law (aka Idaho Stop Law) goes into effect this Wednesday, January 1. Since many people, including cyclists, appear to be confused about what Oregon Senate Bill 998 changes, I recommend this Bike Law post and please watch

this video.

WordPress’ new block editor only allows me to change text color for the entire block. I can only return to the classic editor if I pay to upgrade my free account. The classic editor will only be supported until December 31, 2021. Due to this, I will only be able to use the block editor in 2022 regardless of whether I upgrade my free account. I plan to delete this block when WordPress allows me to change the text color for “this video” without changing the color for all the words in the whole block. This is ridiculous!

Even though the new law has safety benefits, most comments I have read on mainstream Oregon news have been from frustrated motorists. Many of these motorists shared how they believe that cyclists already do not follow the laws. Despite the safety benefits from Idaho’s use of the Stop As Yield Law, many of these motorists shared how they supported the Oregon SB 998 because they believe it will kill cyclists for rolling through intersections. While I try to always follow the laws, I frequently do a rolling stop when biking because coming to a complete stop at every stop sign would be exhausting.

I actually had a motorist yell and argue with me when I accidentally did a rolling stop while biking through a stop sign on the Trolley Trail north of the Clackamas River in Gladstone, Oregon. Even though mainstream Oregon news is helping to educate everyone about what the new law allows and prohibits, I expect many motorists to harass me about legally doing a rolling stop while biking.

While I took the below photo about another bike issue in Virginia, I am curious whether a similar sign could reduce how many motorists harass me about legally doing a rolling stop. I could put “Bike (symbol) Rolling Stop Is Legal SB 998”. What do you think?

As someone who studied transportation planning and engineering abroad in the Netherlands, I feel the need to share that stop signs are rare in the Netherlands. Yielding (shown with shark’s teeth painted on and built into the street) is the default on streets where there would be stop signs in the US. Since the Netherlands tries to avoid sign clutter, yield signs are often not used with the shark’s teeth. The US has too much sign clutter, so I wish the US would also try to reduce sign clutter.

A clear indication of the priority, also in the road surface. The shark’s teeth indicate you must yield. The so-called piano teeth markings indicate a speed bump. Note the continuous surface of red asphalt of the cycleway, interrupting the roadway.

While my focus through May will be on studying for the American Institute of Certified Planners (AICP) Exam, I may take a break to write a follow-up post about how biking changed for me after SB 998 goes into effect on January 1. Hopefully, motorists will harass me less when I legally do a rolling stop while biking and I will not need to create a sign for my bike to educate motorists about SB 998.

Opposing Viewpoints On Vision Zero During My Family’s 1st Hawaiian Vacation

As many of you know, my dad and I have opposing viewpoints on many controversial topics. Since our discussions frequently get heated and we were on vacation, I tried to avoid discussing controversial topics. Plus, the rest of my family does not feel comfortable engaging in these heated discussions. The below pedestrian safety issues were too much for me to hold my tongue, so my dad and I got into a heated discussion about Vision Zero. For those who do not know what Vision Zero is, the goal of Vision Zero is to achieve zero traffic fatalities. While my dad understands what Vision Zero means, we disagreed on whether it is a realistic goal, who should be held responsible if the goal is not achieved by the agreed upon date, and whether millions of dollars should be invested in a project to prevent one death.

My dad and I agreed that the pedestrian crossing flags shown in the below photos show that the government recognizes the safety issue and is trying to resolve the issue. I tried to convince my dad that pedestrian crossing flags have been proven to not prevent crashes. I found several intersections with pedestrian crossing flags on the Big Island. While I saw people walking in urban areas, cars dominated the suburban and rural areas. The Big Island has many pedestrian safety issues. As a conservative, my dad did not want to spend millions to prevent a crash from happening. This was especially true when we saw no one walking, which is seen in the top photo.

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Kona side of Hawaii Island (aka Big Island). Photo: Ray Atkinson.

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Kona side of Hawaii Island (aka Big Island). Photo: Ray Atkinson.

Since we drove on many highways with few pedestrian and bike crossings on Hawaii Island, we saw many people jaywalking. My dad felt I put too much responsibility on the driver to prevent crashing into the jaywalker and not enough responsibility on the pedestrian. I called him out for victim blaming because he felt the pedestrian should walk out of their way to find a crosswalk, which could be miles away. My dad did not appreciate being told that he was guilty of blaming the victim. Before I proceed, I want to clarify that most of the responsibility to prevent traffic deaths should be on the government. The government, especially the traffic engineer, must approve project designs before they can be built.

While my dad wanted me to keep the jaywalking discussion on US law, I kept trying to force us to discuss Dutch law. As this post shows, the Netherlands has no laws about jaywalking. Pedestrians in the Netherlands can legally cross the street anywhere. I would love to see US law changed to allow this!

Jaywalking US vs Netherlands

What is forbidden in one jurisdiction can be encouraged in another jurisdiction. Above: a card that was handed out in the 1920s in the US to discourage ‘jaywalking’. Below how the city of Utrecht would like pedestrians to use a street (yellow lines) that they reconstructed in 2014. Source: BicycleDutch

I do not want to end this post by giving the impression that all my dad and I did during our vacation was argue. While the partial federal government shutdown gave us plenty of other heated arguments, we had plenty of calm discussions. My family thanked me for the countless hours of research I did to find us things to do every day during our vacation. Since I wanted to explore two islands, I flew to and from Honolulu, which is on Oahu Island. I explored Oahu Island on two weekends and Hawaii Island (aka Big Island) with my parents and twin sister on Monday-Friday. My brother could not join us because he is in graduate school at Pfeiffer University’s Charlotte campus and recently started a new job in Charlotte. Here is a selection of photos from my vacation:

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My 2nd cousin (right) and his wife (center) with me at their Honolulu oceanview condo. Since the lighting is horrible, I need to learn how to take better photos. Photo: Ray Atkinson.

Digital Camera

Bike attachment possibly used to transport surfboard. Photo: Ray Atkinson

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Tour at Big Island Bees. Photo: Ray Atkinson

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We found green sea turtles at the Black Sand Beach. Photo: Ray’s dad.

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Hawaii Volcanoes National Park. Photo: Ray Atkinson

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My dad exchanged the Kannapolis Rotary Club banner for the Kona Mauka Rotary Club banner. I used to be a member of the Kannapolis Rotary Club. Photo: Ray Atkinson

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Pu’uhonua O Hōnaunau National Historical Park. Photo: Ray Atkinson

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Rainbow Falls in Hilo. Photo: Ray Atkinson

Digital Camera

Whale and dolphin watching off Kona coast of Hawaii Island. Photo: Ray Atkinson

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Snorkeling in January! Photo: Ray’s dad

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Maori (indigenous Polynesian people of New Zealand) dance at Polynesian Cultural Center. Photo: Ray Atkinson

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Learned how to make coconut oil at Polynesian Cultural Center. Photo: Ray Atkinson

I have other photos from my Hawaiian vacation, but I have shared my favorite photos. I am back in Oregon City wearing winter clothes. I enjoyed escaping the cold and gray skies by vacationing in Hawaii, so I plan to do it again someday.

Bend at Eye Level

“Bend at Eye Level” is a reference to “The City at Eye Level”. Since people outside Oregon may not know where Bend is, below is a map that shows the location of Bend in Oregon. Bend, OR (91,122 people in 2016) reminds me of Asheville, NC (89,121 people in 2016) because they have similar populations and are hip and expensive mountain cities with strong art, brewery and mountain biking scenes. As someone who has biked in both cities, Asheville is not as bike friendly as Bend. Since it rains more in Asheville, I would rather live in Bend.

I am writing about Bend because I was shocked by many things that I saw while biking throughout Bend for my first time during the Oregon Trails Summit. I will admit that I did not plan to write about Bend before arriving in Bend. My thought process quickly changed when I biked through my first roundabout in Bend. It felt similar to a Dutch protected bike intersection, which I wrote about in this post. As you can see in the below photo, cyclists have the option to act like a pedestrian through the roundabout by taking the bike off-ramp to access the sidewalk then using the crosswalks.

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Looking west on NW Galveston Ave at NW 14th St. Photo: Ray Atkinson.

Even though I could not find any signs with instructions at any of the roundabouts in Bend, I found the below tips on the City of Bend’s website. Thankfully, the tips are just suggestions and do not appear to be laws because I biked on the sidewalks and across the crosswalks to avoid biking with cars through the roundabout. According to the City of Bend’s tips, I was supposed to walk my bike on the sidewalks and across the crosswalks. While there likely is not enough space to separate cyclists and pedestrians on the sidewalks and crosswalks in Bend, this is how the protected bike intersections and bike lanes function in the Netherlands.

I asked several cyclists in Bend whether they act like a pedestrian or a car when they bike through the roundabout. All of them said they act like a car by taking the lane through the roundabout because acting like a pedestrian takes too long and motorists do not expect to see cyclists using the sidewalk or crosswalk. While the City of Bend recommends for cyclists to walk their bike on the sidewalk and crosswalk through the roundabout, I doubt cyclists will do this unless there is someone walking. I rarely saw anyone walking outside of Downtown Bend, so most of the roundabouts had no one walking through them.

I have only shown you a bike off-ramp, so below is a bike on-ramp at another Bend roundabout. While most of the bike on-ramps did not have tree limbs blocking the ramp, I wanted to show this photo so urban designers can see an example of what not to do. I was unable to use this on-ramp because tree limbs were blocking the ramp. I emailed the City of Bend to ask them to trim the tree so this issue can be resolved.

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Looking south on SW Colorado Ave and SW Simpson Ave. Photo: Ray Atkinson.

The below roundabout issue is harder to fix. While most of the bike off-ramps were installed to make it easy to exit the road and enter the sidewalk, the below bike off-ramp was not installed correctly. It is also missing the painted white dashes on the road, which indicate that cyclists can move into the travel lane. While the City of Bend has installed infrastructure to allow cyclists to act like a pedestrian through roundabouts, cyclists are not required to do this.

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Looking west on SW Simpson Ave at SW Colorado Ave. Photo: Ray Atkinson.

Since I enjoyed biking throughout Bend and know people are not perfect, I wanted to share a photo of art installed at a roundabout. All of the roundabouts that I biked through had art installed in them. Here is a map that shows all 24 roundabouts that have art in them. The art produced great placemaking!

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Looking northwest at the SW Simpson Ave at SW Colorado Ave roundabout. Photo: Ray Atkinson.

I want to write more and have other photos to share, but believe this is a good stopping point for tonight. I plan to write more and add more photos another day. Thanks for reading my blog!

Neighborhood Greenways Are Cool, But Oasis Greenways Are Awesome!

I submitted my contributor form to Greater Greater Washington (GGWash) today and GGWash’s staff gave me the green light, so my first blog post should be published on GGWash sometime next week. Since GGWash’s staff asked me to write differently than I write on my personal blog, I wanted to share the version I wrote before GGWash’s staff asked me to shorten my blog post and make it less technical. As I wrote in this post, I knew I would have less control over my writing when I started posting on other blogs. I’ll share my GGWash post after it is published, but as a teaser I’m sharing my longer and more technical version below.

Update: here is my first GGWash post!

A bike boulevard (DC region refers to neighborhood greenway as bike boulevard) is an outdated idea currently being used by many US cities to improve safety for all street users. An oasis greenway is a new approach that represents the future of safe street design. An oasis greenway is a long series of interconnected low-speed, low-volume, shared-space, vegetated linear parks created from an assembly of residential streets. As the below video shows, an oasis greenway is based on the Dutch woonerf.

According to Tom Bertulis’ 167-page thesis, Oasis Greenways: A New Model of Urban Park and Bikeway within Constrained Street Rights-of-Way, the nine elements that any given facility must include to be called an oasis greenway are the following:

  1. Extremely low traffic volumes, including traffic diversion as needed. While many cities in the US are focused on traffic diversion on a street by street basis, several cities in the Netherlands are focused on traffic diversion on a neighborhood or citywide basis. Houten, Netherlands, which is a suburb of Utrecht, has implemented a citywide traffic diversion plan.

    Houten Street Network

    Houten’s traffic diversion map. Source: ITDP

    As the below map shows, motorists are routed from their neighborhood road (green) onto a connector road (brown) that directs them to the outer ring road (yellow). Motorists must drive all the way around Houten until they reach another connector road that connects them to their destination. Since cyclists and pedestrians can travel through the traffic diverters, they can travel quicker than motorists through Houten.

    Houten Street Network zoomed in

    Neighborhood level of Houten’s traffic diversion map

    Watch this video to learn more about Houten.

    Since Houten was originally designed with traffic diversion, it is a unique city because it didn’t need to be retrofitted. Most, if not all, US cities will have to retrofitted with traffic diversion so here is a neighborhood retrofit example from Utrecht, Netherlands. US cities should be able to relate to this retrofit example much easier than the approach that Houten took with its citywide traffic diversion plan.

    While no US city has implemented a citywide nor neighborhood network of traffic diverters, Portland, OR has several traffic diverters. Here is a diagonal traffic diverter in northeast Portland.

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    Diagonal traffic diverter at NE Tillamook St and 16th Ave. Photo: Ray Atkinson

    Diagonal traffic diverter at Tillamook and 16th

    Diagonal traffic diverter at NE Tillamook St and 16th Ave

  2. Extremely low traffic speeds, including traffic calming as needed. Below is a bayonet traffic calmer in Delftweg, Netherlands. While the street is two-way, the bayonet forces motorists to take turns going through the bayonet. Cyclists have a two-way trail so they can avoid the bayonet.


    Delftweg’s bayonet traffic calmer. Photo: Ray Atkinson

  3. Shared space, without sidewalks, with motorists sharing the space with pedestrians and cyclists, like a woonerf.

    Bell Street Seattle Before & After Shared Space

    Shared space on Bell Street in Seattle, WA

  4. Oasis greenways must be continuous for at least several blocks and have connectivity through busy intersections.

    Portland Neighborhood Greenway Crossing

    Portland neighborhood greenway crossing. Photo: Steven Vance

  5. Terminal vista. They must make use of the “terminal vista effect,” where the line of sight straight down the street is partially obscured, usually by trees or an on-street parking chicane. The below woonerf in Delft, Netherlands shows the terminal vista effect.

    Delft woonerf

    Woonerf in Delft, NL. Photo: Ray Atkinson

  6. Parklike, which refers to using grasscrete as the default in areas that aren’t travel-ways for cyclists and pedestrians. The below photo from Haarlem, Netherlands shows a grasscrete street.

    Grasscrete in Netherlands

    Grasscrete street in Haarlem, NL. Photo: Dan Burden

  7. Park and parking strip. They must have a wide area where on-street parking, parklets, trees, vegetation, and play areas are located.

    Oasis greenway park and parking area

    Rendering of park and parking strip. Rendering: Tom Bertulis’ thesis

  8. Minimal parking footprint. They must minimize the parking footprint based on a parking needs analysis. Use the below illustration to compare parking footprint of a traditional street with parking footprint of an oasis greenway.

    Oasis Greenway vs. Traditional Street

    Source: Tom Bertulis’ thesis

  9. Small and large play areas. They must have both small and large play areas, with the small play areas referring to the Park & Parking Strip and the large play areas referring to Oasis Greenway sections with “ultra-low volumes” where the play area temporarily becomes the entire cross-section of the street, not too different from when hockey is played in the street.

    Street Hockey

    Street hockey. Photo: Jonathan Tavares

While no street in the US has been designed with all nine elements of an oasis greenway, a few cities have experimented with several elements of an oasis greenway so please don’t think that an oasis greenway can only be designed by the Dutch or Europeans. Would you like to see an oasis greenway constructed in your neighborhood? If yes, where? If no, why not?

It is not the destination, but the journey.

I’m probably one of the few master’s degree graduates who has been looking forward to using some of my newfound free time to keep writing. Since I didn’t have enough time before fall 2015 term started to finish blogging about my study abroad trip last summer to the Netherlands, I want to keep blogging about this trip. Due to how much interest there is in the United States to learn from the Netherlands, I plan to use specific examples from the United States and the Netherlands to show how the United States can learn from my experiences in the Netherlands.

My graduation cap was inspired by my study abroad trips to Denmark and the Netherlands in 2012 and the Netherlands in 2015. The words, “It is not the destination, but the journey”, were inspired by The Slow Bicycle Movement.

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Ray Atkinson’s 2016 Graduation Cap

As I discussed in my previous blog post and the below video shows, most cyclists in the United States are too concerned about arriving at their destination as fast as possible that they forget about enjoying their journey. My study abroad experiences in Denmark and the Netherlands showed me that most cyclists in these countries enjoy their journey and don’t care too much about arriving at their destination as fast as possible. Through my bicycle advocacy work at UNC Charlotte and Portland State University, I tried to advocate for cyclists to shift from focusing on arriving at their destination as fast as possible to focusing on enjoying their journey. Wherever life takes me after graduation, I plan to continue advocating for this shift and hope to someday see most cyclists in the United States enjoying their journey.

I realize world-class bike infrastructure alone cannot achieve a culture shift in the United States from fast to slow biking so we need local, regional, state, and national comprehensive bike plans. Through my next blog posts, I plan to show how the Netherlands created and has been implementing local, regional, provincial, and national comprehensive bike plans. Since the United States is light years behind the Netherlands when it comes to local, regional, state and national comprehensive bike planning, I also plan to show how the United States can learn from the Netherlands.

Traffic Diverters in Portland

I returned to Portland about a week ago from the Netherlands. While I miss the connected network of protected bike lanes and protected bike intersections that I biked on daily in the Netherlands, I’m thankful to still have traffic calming in Portland. Since a few traffic diverters caught my attention while biking today, I’m going to focus this post on traffic diverters, which is a traffic calming device.

Holman Pocket Park

During my bike ride to experience Northeast Portland Sunday Parkways, which is part of a series of open street events, I biked through Holman Pocket Park, which may be the first street to park conversion in Portland history. In case you are wondering, local residents fully supported the street to park conversion with cheering during an open house meeting. The below video shows people biking through Holman Pocket Park.

The below map shows where NE Holman St used to go through the park. For more information about the Holman Pocket Park transformation from a street to a park, visit the City of Portland’s website.

Map of Holman Pocket Park

Map of Holman Pocket Park

Diagonal Traffic Diverter

On my bike ride home from Northeast Portland Sunday Parkways, I couldn’t believe my eyes when I saw the diagonal traffic diverter at NE Tillamook St and 16th Ave because it is a permanent diverter. Many traffic diverters are temporary, which means they can be easily removed if people, especially motorists, don’t like the diverter. This is why I was impressed to see it is a permanent diverter. The below panorama shows the diagonal traffic diverter.

Diagonal traffic diverter at NE Tillamook St and 16th Ave

Diagonal traffic diverter at NE Tillamook St and 16th Ave

Since I didn’t stay long enough to get a photo with a cyclist using the diverter, I found the below photo that shows cyclists using the diverter.

Cyclists on NE Tillamook St using the diverter. Photo: David Baker Architects

The following map shows how the diagonal traffic diverter looks on a map. I talked with an elderly couple that was walking by when I was taking photos of the diverter. The couple said there are several other diverters in the Irvington neighborhood and they love how the diverters reduce cut through automobile traffic and make their neighborhood quieter. They walked away before I could ask how they felt about the diverters before the diverters were installed. From my experience with new infrastructure, people are often nervous about unfamiliar infrastructure so are usually against it until after the infrastructure is installed. I wouldn’t be surprised if the elderly couple didn’t always love the diverters.

Diagonal traffic diverter at NE Tillamook St and 16th Ave

Diagonal traffic diverter at NE Tillamook St and 16th Ave

Speaking of history, I was able to find some history about the diverter. According to Shawn Granton’s photo description, the diagonal traffic diverter on NE Tillamook St and 16th Ave was the “city’s first traffic diverter. I heard it was first installed as a neighborhood guerrilla action in the late 60’s to calm traffic, then was made official by the city.” A comment on his photo suggests 16th Ave was “the main drag”. Since 16th Ave is no longer the main drag, the diverter was successful in making the neighborhood have less cut through automobile traffic. Even though it didn’t exist in the 1960s, the diverter helped make the Tillamook neighborhood greenway possible by reducing automobile traffic on NE Tillamook St while providing bicycle and pedestrian access. I constantly saw this in the Netherlands so it is great to see this in Portland.

As you may have noticed, I haven’t finished blogging about everything I saw in the Netherlands. Fall quarter starts on September 28 so I have about two months to finish blogging about the Netherlands or else I will have to wait until after graduation next June to finish blogging. It feels great to write that I will finally be done with school soon!

Tour of Rijswijk

We toured transportation facilities in Rijswijk, Netherlands on Thursday, July 9. The below google maps tour shows the transportation facilities that we toured.

1) Delftweg, which is the old road from the Hague to Delft, has a bayonet traffic calming device to prevent through traffic and slow down motorists. The bayonet reduces the road to one direction at a time and has an “S” curve.

Delftweg's bayonet traffic calmer

Delftweg’s bayonet traffic calmer

2) De Oversteek Bridge, which opened in 2014, is a bicycle and pedestrian only bridge. The Netherlands has a goal to create a bicycle network that has safe and convenient crossings within 500 meters of each other. This bridge helps to reach this goal by creating a more convenient canal crossing.

De Oversteek Bridge

De Oversteek Bridge

3) Rembrandtkade experienced a conversion from a street with a standard bike lane to a street with a cycletrack. The first photo below shows how Rembrandtkde was designed in 2008. The second photo shows the new design in 2014. With overwhelming support from the residents, which likely wouldn’t be the case in the United States, automobile parking was removed so trees could be replanted as dividers between every two parking spaces. With the space where the trees used to be planted, a cycletrack was installed. All of this was done without widening the existing right of way!

Rembrandtkade in September 2008

Rembrandtkade in September 2008

Rembrandtkade in August 2014

Rembrandtkade in August 2014

4) Haagweg is being converted from four lanes down to two lanes so the tram ROW can be widened. Local service roads are being added to the project so bicyclists can have a safe and comfortable through road. Motorists can only use the local service road for local access only.



Da Costa neighborhood traffic calming

5a) The Da Costa neighborhood has a splay diverter because the diagonal street was being used as a shortcut for motorists.The splay diverter was employed to reduce traffic on local users. The approaches from the left and right are both one-way streets pointed towards the device. At the intersection, each street is split so drivers must choose to go right or left. No through movements are allowed, and because the approaches are both one-way in, a driver can’t weasel around the barriers and keep going. Bollards are employed to enable cyclists to cut through.

Splay diverter in the Da Costa neighborhood

Splay diverter in the Da Costa neighborhood

5b) Even though signage is rarely effective for traffic calming (how effective are speed limit signs?), signage has been effective for traffic calming in the Da Costa neighborhood. As the below street view screenshot shows, motorists can’t turn left or right at the intersection so are forced to proceed straight through the intersection. Cyclists are allowed in any direction.

Signage used to create reversing one-way streets

Signage used to create reversing one-way streets

The below map shows the intersection of Bilderdijklaan and Da Costalaan with one-way street arrows pointing at the intersection.

Map of reversing one-way streets

Map of reversing one-way streets

6) We only stopped in the old center of Rijswijk for a minute so I didn’t have time to take any photos. The old center of Rijswijk is a pedestrian mall so most automobiles are prohibited.

7) The Netherlands has been doing amazing things with roads that were designed for automobiles. Huis te Lindelaan, which is a main arterial from the 1960s, now has cycle tracks on it. In addition, as the below photo shows, Huis te Lindelaan had a road diet to create one-lane crossings. I find it interesting how there is automobile parking on the main arterial and the service road because I believe automobile parking should only be on the service road. Main arterials are only for through traffic so motorists should drive onto the service road before parking.

Road diet to create one-lane crossing across Huis te Lindelaan at Doctor Colijnlaan

Road diet to create one-lane crossing across Huis te Lindelaan at Doctor Colijnlaan

8) Rijswijk built a new town center near the new train station

Rijswijk's new town center and rail station

Rijswijk’s new town center and rail station

9) Steenvordelaan, which is an access road to the shopping center, had its speed limit reduced to 30 km/h and transit friendly traffic calming implemented.

Traffic calming along access street to shopping center

Traffic calming along access street to shopping center

10) Sir Winston Churchilllaan road diet at Eisenhowerplein. Sir Winston Churchilllaan used to be a huge road with a horrendously long crosswalk. By reducing traffic to one lane in each direction, and adding pedestrian refuges between each lane and between the road and tram tracks, the distance was broken down into manageable segments. Traffic modeling showed that since this area was primarily governed by the signals on either side of the segment, and not the pedestrian crossing in the middle, that the flow would be relatively unaffected by a reduction in lanes.

Bicycle and pedestrian crossing across Sir Winston Churchilllaan

Bicycle and pedestrian crossing across Sir Winston Churchilllaan