architecture

Amsterdam uses flower power to make streets safer

Updated 20th October 2020
AMSTERDAM, NETHERLANDS - APRIL 1: A bridge is seen amid the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic on April 1, 2020 in Amsterdam, The Netherlands. The number of confirmed coronavirus (COVID-19) cases in The Netherlands has risen to at least 13614, with 1173 deaths according to reports from Dutch officials. (Photo by Pierre Crom/Getty Images)
Credit: Pierre Crom/Getty Images
Amsterdam uses flower power to make streets safer
Written by Amy Woodyatt
Amsterdam is famed for being cycle friendly, but now authorities are harnessing flower power to make the city safer for pedestrians.
Dutch officials are placing wooden plant and flower boxes along the railings of the city's iconic bridges, stopping bicycle parking on the bridges in the Damstraatjes district, a spokesperson for the city told CNN.
The technique, which has already been used in other areas of Amsterdam, such as Haarlemmerstraat, is designed to allow more space for pedestrians on the sidewalk.
"Space for pedestrians is important, now more than ever. Due to the large number of parked bicycles on the bridge railings, there is less room on the already narrow sidewalks. This creates unsafe situations," deputy mayor Sharon Dijksma said in a statement.
More than half of Amsterdam's residents over the age of 12 cycle daily.
More than half of Amsterdam's residents over the age of 12 cycle daily. Credit: Yuriko Nakao/Getty Images
Cycling is popular in the Dutch capital, both among locals and tourists.
More than half (58%) of Amsterdam's residents over the age of 12 cycle at least once a day, and the city is home to some 767 km (477 miles) of cycle paths and bike lanes, according to the city's tourism board.
There are some 881,000 bikes in the city, which has up to 225,000 bicycle racks, and 10,000 bike parking spots near the central train station.
But there had been concerns that bikes chained to bridges were leading to overcrowded roads, which could harm pedestrians, a spokesperson for the city told CNN.
"By placing flower baskets on the railings of our bridges, we're making space for pedestrians while creating a more visually appealing streetscape," Dijksma said, adding that the first planters were installed in September.
The city hopes that the planters -- which will be maintained by people who live in homeless shelters -- will keep the space looking neat and colorful.