Amsterdam is one of the most bike-friendly cities in the world but it's about to become even more so with a 27-step plan to improve the city for cyclists and pedestrians by 2040.

Cars and bikes parked by the canal in Amsterdam
Amsterdam has 27-step plan to make the city more bike and pedestrian-friendly ©Kunstgalerie Aquarius via Getty

Amsterdam is a bike city. Almost a third of the people who do own a car, use it once a week and only 19% of Amsterdam residents actually use a car every day, according to Dutch newspaper Het Parool. That's because biking is the preferred mode of transport for most commuters. It accounts for almost two-thirds of urban journeys but even though the city is so two-wheel orientated, there are still lots of cars on the roads. Too many for the city's liking. Amsterdam is small. Space is limited. As the population grows and visitor numbers soar, the city's narrow traffic arteries are getting clogged. 

A general view people in traffic jam, ride bicycle and walking on the Dam Rokin street with central railway station
Road space can be limited in downtown Amsterdam ©Paulo Amorim via Getty

Sharon Dijksma, councillor responsible for city traffic, has addressed this issue with her Agenda Amsterdam Autoluw (car-free agenda) that features 27 steps to increasing space in the city for pedestrians, cyclists and public transport users and better connect the city with bike paths and public transport links, making journeys cleaner and healthier.  

Though fewer cars on the city's roads is not a goal in itself, Dijksma said she understands that the car is "sometimes indispensable for many people", especially families. But by speaking with residents, experts and municipalities, in a project called Conversations with the City, authorities worked what its citizens want and need when it comes to transport and worked out the most practical solutions. 

Aerial view of Amsterdam street with canal and trams
Amsterdam will introduce measures like a night metro at weekends ©Alexey Sizov / EyeEm via Getty

Steps include a night metro at weekends from 2021, free public transport for children under 12 on weekends and Wednesday afternoons (when most schools have half-days), fast bus lanes, more cycle lanes, a bike-friendly redesign of the road network, more bike parking spaces at metro stations and, potentially, free or cheaper public transport during rush hour. Furthermore, the city is issuing fewer parking permits and removing car parking spaces in the city centre, replacing them with trees, wider pedestrian paths, wider cycle lanes and bike parking spaces.

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