Cyclist haven Amsterdam joins Paris with 30kph urban speed limit

AMSTERDAM: Amsterdam is following Paris in becoming one of a growing number of European cities to implement a 30-kph speed limit on most of its streets in an effort to make the city safer and quieter.

The speed limit, in effect from Dec 8, is necessary because of the increasing crowds in the city, said Melanie van der Horst, the city councillor responsible for traffic.

The move follows similar crackdown on fast drivers in built-up areas of Paris, where a speed limit of 30kph was introduced across much of the city in 2021.

Roads along the banks of the Seine have been closed to cars and made accessible to pedestrians, cycle paths extended and green spaces laid out.

Other European cities such as Graz, Zurich, Munich and Brussels also have extensive areas where traffic is limited to 30kph, and campaigns have been mounted in several other countries to make urban spaces safer and quieter with extended speed limits.

Amsterdam's newest limit will affect 80% of the city's streets, while on some major roads a limit of 50kph will be allowed. An exception also applies to city buses, trams and taxis - but only if there is an extra lane for them.

The number of inhabitants, currently around 800,000, is increasing and at least 20 million tourists visit the Dutch capital every year.

Ahead of the introduction of the limit, some 4,500 street signs that were set up around the city beforehand were made official and signs that had been damaged, for example with stickers, were fixed.

Amsterdam officials say the goal is to prioritise cycling and walking. Many streets in the city centre have been closed off to car traffic and turned into pedestrian and cycling zones.

There are also more and more so-called fietsstraten, bike lanes where cars are only guests and cyclists have priority.

Following a shift away from car traffic in Paris, bicycle traffic has increased, but the changes are also meeting resistance.

Tradespeople and delivery services say they can no longer park near customers. Residents on the outskirts without access to commuter rail services accuse Hidalgo of being anti-car.
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