Amsterdam boutique district car-free on Saturdays

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A part of Amsterdam city, including the boutique district, will soon be closed for car traffic on Saturdays. This is one of 50 measures that Alderman Pieter Litjens of Traffic, Transport and Organization presented on Thursday. 

Litjens' measures for the Traffic Implementation Plan is intended to create 20 football fields of space for pedestrians and cyclists and lessen congestion in the city. The whole package will cost between 350 and 400 million euros, Het Parool reports.

Making the boutique district car-free is a pilot designed to give cyclists and pedestrians more space in the city. If the trial is successful, the municipality wants to experiment with car free zones in other parts of the city.

Other measures include improving the cycle paths, developing bike-only streets and more bike friendly intersections and lowering the maximum speed limit in many streets from 50 kilometers per hour to 30 kilometers per hour so that trams and cars can use the same part of the road. A number of bike paths will be widened and new ones will be constructed.

The municipality is also developing 12 new underground parking garages to provide more parking space and reduce traffic searching for a parking. In total these garages will provide approximately 4 thousand extra parking spots. More P+R spaces will be created on the outskirts of the city, and residents who do not use their car frequently will be given the opportunity to park it outside the city and lower rates.

"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." said alderman Litjens. "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."