Stadsfietsroute FR30: Bruges’ cycling plan progresses

Author: Bart Slabbinck

Seeking to strengthen the weak links in its cycling network, the city council of Bruges appointed an international consortium (consisting of Copenhagenize Design Co, West 8 and Vectris) to develop a new cycling network. The network concept, known as FR30, was presented in Autumn 2020, within the scope of the Handshake project, and it embraces the city's sustainable mobility vision.

“We wanted to create cycling infrastructure that fits the needs of our citizens, while simultaneously respecting and strengthening the uniqueness of our historical city. Although it embraces the city centre, it would be wrong to call this a ‘ring route’ since this would bring to mind the image of a busy concrete cycling trajectory where traffic speeds by. Our Stadsfietroute is both intuitive and attractive, as well as respectful of the unique urban fabric found in Bruges."

Mayor of Bruges, Dirk De fauw

The FR30 includes a concept on how Bruges’ cycling network can be upgraded, as well as an ambitious action plan. Over 75 activities were identified, which will be rolled out in the coming years to create a coherent cycling network 2.0. The realisation of several activities since the implementation of the vision one year ago, have already resulted in some quick wins and the launch of strategic studies. Bruges’ cycling network is, indeed, on a steady path towards progress.

For example, in Bruges’ 19th century quartier Christus-Koning, a neighbourhood mobility plan that runs parallel with the FR30 vision was developed. Before the creation of this new mobility plan the quartier utilised a bottom-up approach, which it changed to align with the city-wide approach outlined in the FR30-vision. Starting from a citizen survey and co-creation workshops that focused on main street design, a new mobility plan was formed. Cycling infrastructure received a significant boost in the new plan. Instead of integrating two cycling highways, the FR30 concept supported the identification of two extra cycling streets – one of which has already been realised. These cycling highways are an embodiment of  the FR30’s adagio ‘less speed, more city’.

Another illustration of the FR30-concept in action is the case study of Houtkaai. Just few years ago, Houtkaai Street was equipped with a cycling path. Being a beautiful waterside path, it proved to be too popular among cyclists and pedestrians alike, thereby causing friction between the users. “Enlargement of the cycling path is impossible because of the hard barrier of the waterfront and an adjacent road”, explains mobility expert Bart Slabbinck. “Instead we developed a vision in which the road will become a cycling street. Cut-through traffic will be tackled by cutting the Houtkaai at the Scheepsdale Bridge and by creating a road filter at the Waggelwater Bridge. And the cycling track? It will be transformed into a foot path, contributing to part of the Vestenroute, a 7 km long iconic pedestrian route along the Vesten – the city’s ramparts and quays”.

According to Alderman of Public Domain, Mercedes Van Volcem, another example of where the FR30 joined forces with the neighbourhood mobility plan is at the Filips De Goede-laan. "Bruges’ first cycling street doesn’t function well, not because it is lacking in cyclists, but because of non-appropriate street design – too straight, too wide and too much through-traffic. Thanks to a participative process with local inhabitants, public support was found to redesign the street as a one-way cycling street. Narrowing the street will both strengthen cycling-centric behaviour, as well create the opportunity to enlarge the Parc Stil Ende, which is home to a colony of Bruges’ white swans". Implementation of changes to the Filips De Goede-laan are foreseen in 2023.

The development of a more effective cycling network in Bruges is a work in progress, but early results have shown that the changes will be worth the wait. As the city continues to transform into a Future Cycling Capital, each win demonstrates a commitment to making Bruges an enjoyable, safe and beautiful place to cycle.


Houtkaai before

Image by: Stad Brugge

Neighbourhood mobility plan Christus Koning

Image by: Stad Brugge

Image (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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