Big news for cycling in Bruges as FR30 vision is approved

Author: Bart Slabbinck

Cities that want to be cycle-friendly are continuously faced with new challenges. In order to tackle these, Bruges has developed a new vision for the future of its cycling network: the FR30.

The rising success of cycling is causing congestion on several cycle lanes that are in many cases – simply not wide enough. As part of its work in Handshake, the City of Bruges has appointed an international consortium - consisting of Copenhagenize Design Co, West 8 and Vectris - to develop a new concept for an urban cycling route.

The plan is hot off the approval press, having been cleared yesterday by Flemish authorities. Bruges’s city council passed it in mid-November.

Dirk De fauw, Mayor of Bruges, comments that, “the concept of this urban cycling route (‘stadsfietsroute’) fits perfectly with the city’s philosophy on city-friendly mobility. We want to create cycling infrastructure that is tailored the needs of our citizens, but at the same time also respects the uniqueness of this historical city.”

He remarked that “it would be wrong to call this a ‘ring route’, as this brings to mind the image of busy concrete roads where traffic speeds by. Bruges has a unique DNA, an urban fabric that has to be respected. But this something that can also to be strengthened by creating well-thought out cycling infrastructure.”

A street in Bruges - before and after the F30 plans are implemented

The urban cycling route also offers possibilities for the development of the FR30, enabling several connections with the egg-shaped city centre. These connections represent the biggest challenges.

“On the east side of the city, we want to create a ladder-like structure where the historic city gates act as rungs, connecting the two parallel structures along the ring canal”, explains Maarten van de Voorde, director of West 8.

“Boninvest and Gentpoortstraat, both located within the former city walls and running adjacent with the city ramparts, will be transformed into ‘cycle streets’ on which cyclists have priority and cars are guests.” He continued that “this will offer a solution to the current inadequate cycling infrastructure, while leaving enough space on the ramparts for pedestrians and joggers.”

This exercise was repeated for the entire length of the FR30. On the west side, the capacity will be increased by transforming Guido Gezellelaan and Hendrik Consciencelaan, both running adjacent with the city ramparts, into cycle streets.

This will allow the transformation of the current cycle tracks – that were too narrow – into green areas again and to add them to the green city ramparts.

Cycling network hierarchy employed in Bruges

Dirk De fauw continued: “this concept is the result of an intensive dialogue with the people of Bruges and – thanks to Handshake– with international cycling experts. In the next few months, the concept will be elaborated and the first planning finalised. Yet we realise that if we want to remain bicycle-friendly, our work will never be done.”

Read the FR30 vision document (in EN). See Bruges’s dedicated webpage for more on its work in Handshake.

Image by: Stad Brugge

This project has received funding from the European Union‘s Horizon 2020 Research and Innovation programme under grant agreement no 769177.

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