Video: Amsterdam Just Closed their Busiest Road

All cities have their charms and their flaws, but every time I watch a video from Not Just Bikes, I find myself wanting to live in Amsterdam. While it seems like there’s even more never-ending construction there than in most other cities, the governing philosophy seems very appealing, at a glance. Amsterdam puts a lot of effort not just into economic and building activity, but into finding and enacting new ways to make the city more pleasant for the people living in it. The construction is probably at odds with this goal, but it means that there’s always something new going on. Amsterdam had a period, in the 1960s, when they built some pretty big roads in an effort to join the trend of redesigning cities around cars. Now, they’ve closed their busiest road to car traffic for a period of six weeks, from 6am to 11pm, so that they can study how that affects traffic for the rest of the city. At the same time, there are community events and temporary decorations to help give an idea of what life would be like without that road. I imagine this will make life less pleasant for a number of people who drive, but Amsterdam is a good city for getting around without cars, and is known as one of the most bike-friendly cities in the world. The video below breaks down what’s happening, and the context in which it’s happening, and it makes me wish more cities were willing to experiment with design like this.

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