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Rotterdam is getting ready for the 1,5-metres society

By taking space away from cars and giving it to cyclists and pedestrians, the city wants to adapt to a life marked by social distancing

  • May 09, 2020 17:00
  • Author Aseniya Dimitrova
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With the Netherlands gradually exiting the coronavirus lockdown and returning to a nearly normal life starting on Monday, citizens have been advised to avoid crowding and keep a 1,5 metres distance from each other. This, however, is not so easy to achieve and forward-thinking cities must adapt public spaces to a post-lockdown lifestyle, under the ever-present threat of Covid-19.

One of the Dutch cities that want to be well prepared for the so-called 1,5-metres society which practically starts on 11 May, is Rotterdam. By closely monitoring public spaces and by asking citizens for assistance, the municipality wants to adapt to the new situation and facilitate everyone in following the new rules.

Walking, cycling and the use of public transport in Rotterdam become easier

As even more people are turning to soft mobility forms (such as cycling or walking), Rotterdam is looking into ways to redistribute street space, in order to give additional room to cyclists and pedestrians and to those waiting for the public transport.

The municipality shared on its website several measures to accomplish this. For example, on tight streets and boulevards, cars will be given less space to the benefit of pedestrians and cyclists.

Similarly, on streets with narrow sidewalks, parking spaces may be removed. What is more, the city will be extending the time where traffic lights are green for cyclists and pedestrians, to ensure better flow, among other things.

Reporting tight spaces

Furthermore, Rotterdam wants to hear from the citizens on how they experience this new way of moving around the city. That is why the authority is asking them to report places where it is impossible to keep 1,5 metres of distance.

An anonymous questionnaire is available from this link (in Dutch), where it is possible to point out spaces that are too narrow on a map of the city. The users are also asked about their mobility habits and to share ideas on the improvement of mobility in Rotterdam.

This method of consulting citizens has already been used by the municipality in February for the purposes of road safety. As reported by the local government, more than a thousand locals indicated 3,553 places where it was not convenient to walk. The city thus promises to combine the results of the past with the date from the current surveys and resolve the bottlenecks for cyclists and pedestrians in the most efficient way.



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