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Amsterdam to introduce Saturday car ban in part of city centre

Dutch capital aims to reduce motor traffic and give more space to people on bike and on foot

Amsterdam, often held up as an example to follow when it comes to sustainable transport, is to ban cars in much of the city centre on Saturdays, one of a series of initiatives aimed at reducing motor traffic in the Dutch capital.

The trial, announced last Thursday, is part of a package of measures costing between €350 and €400 million that are aimed to give more space to people on bikes and on foot, reports the website NL Times.

The pilot area, inside the central Canal Belt, includes the boutique shopping district known as the Nine Streets.

If successful, car-free Saturdays could be expanded to other parts of the city, says Pieter Litjens, the alderman in charge of traffic and transport in the city’s government. 

Other proposals include building new cycle paths, widening some existing ones, the introduction of cycling-only streets, and improving junctions to make them safer for those on two wheels.

As part of the initiative to reduce motor traffic in the city, 12 underground car parks with a combined total of 4,000 parking spaces will be built, aimed at reducing the time motorists spend looking for somewhere to park their car.

More park and ride locations will be added on the outskirts of Amsterdam, while residents who own cars but don’t use their vehicles often will be offered discounted parking outside the city.

Mr Litjens said: “Amsterdam is growing. Hustle and bustle is part of city life, but it is starting to take a toll in more and more areas.

“Everyone knows what needs to be done to ensure that the city remains accessible and to provide pleasant public areas: create more space for cyclists and pedestrians, park as many cars as possible underground and establish a better flow of traffic.

“A lot has been said on the subject and there are plenty of ideas. But the time has come to make a decision and to start executing the plans,” he added.

Simon joined as news editor in 2009 and is now the site’s community editor, acting as a link between the team producing the content and our readers. A law and languages graduate, published translator and former retail analyst, he has reported on issues as diverse as cycling-related court cases, anti-doping investigations, the latest developments in the bike industry and the sport’s biggest races. Now back in London full-time after 15 years living in Oxford and Cambridge, he loves cycling along the Thames but misses having his former riding buddy, Elodie the miniature schnauzer, in the basket in front of him.

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