Japanese government delegation visits Delft
A high-level Japanese government delegation visited the city of Delft today, where they learned about infrastructure solutions that make Japanese cities safer for cyclists.
“We certainly have achieved that goal”, Mr. Kenta Izumi, a member of the House of Representatives, said. “In Japan, the streets are unsafe for cyclists. There are no separated bike lanes. This results in cyclists using the sidewalk, which of course is not suitable for cyclists. The usage of the main streets are also unsuitable due to the conflicts with cars.”
Urban planning expert Rob van der Bijl provided the delegation with detailed information on Dutch cycling infrastructure during the tour. “Dutch cycling infrastructure is defined by its segregation measures. Cyclists are protected by painted lines, different-colored lanes and sometimes, even elevated banks.”
Van der Bijl also noticed a trend towards more shared use of public space. “Please note that I suspect that the strict segregation will slowly decrease. Instead there will be more zoning, in which pedestrians and cyclists share the same space. Of course, this requires certain measures to ensure safety.”
The delegation also visited Delft Central Station, which harbours an impressive underground bicycle parking garage. The delegation was inspired by the explanation Van der Bijl gave on the detection system which identifies if a parking space is in use or not, the free bicycle air service and the fact that cyclists can check the train times as they arrive in the garage.
According to Mr. Izumi, their visit to Delft inspired them for projects that are currently being reviewed in Kyoto. “A revision of the current usage of space is necessary. Over the last five years, there has been a significant rise in the number of pedestrians. This is good, but that means the current space cannot be shared with cyclists. That’s why we’re thinking to reduce car lanes and give more space to pedestrians and cyclists. This visit gave us ideas on how to do that.”
Photo 1 (main photo): delegation members, with mr. Kenta Izumi in the middle, in the city centre of Delft.
Photo 2: Urban planning expert Rob van der Bijl talking about infrastructural developments in The Netherlands.
Photo 3: Rob van der Bijl explaining several features of the underground bicycle parking space of Delft Central Station
Photo 4: Delegation members experiencing the parking facilities.
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