Tuesday 5 July 2016

Picture Post: 30 minutes at the Amsterdam ferries

This post was meant to be called "30 minutes outside Rotterdam Centraal". I visited Rotterdam last September and had dinner directly alongside the cycle track running along Rotterdam Centraal station which leads to the tunnel under the station. I knew this would be very busy and a good opportunity to photograph plenty of Rotterdam residents getting about by bike and was also an opportunity to meet up with Paul James for a beer before cycling the  30km back to the ferry at Hook Van Holland. After spending the morning photographing people at Mester Visserplein and souvenir shopping I then spent the middle of the day cycling out to Haarlem and back, arriving back at Amsterdam Centraal at the perfect time of 4pm for the 45 minute train journey to Rotterdam. Unfortunately what I was not aware of was that bikes are completely banned from trains between 4 to 6.30pm on weekdays across the entire country. On discovering this I instead cycled through the new tunnel under the station to the new "shared space" area at the back of the station. This area has been completely redesigned in recent years with motor vehicles routed into a tunnel underneath, with the front of the station next in line for similar treatment
I'd used the shared space area a few times in the previous couple of days and found it a bit hairy; especially when there were high numbers of pedestrians disembarking from the ferries. At one point whilst I thought I was taking pictures I was actually recording a video, a shame as there were a few people cycling that would have made for a good photo but the video does give a good insight into what it is like to walk or cycle through this area

Whilst the ferries dock at specific points meaning it would have been possible to build cycle tracks and pavements from each ferry, along with continuing the two cycle tracks already there, large groups of people on bike and foot need to wait for a ferry to arrive. Also dozens of pedestrians will disembark from each ferry and need to cross the cycle track; you can understand why the decision was taken to opt for a shared space area and monitor how it works. Whilst getting the ferry here to the other side of the IJ river is actually quite a fun (and free) thing to do when in Amsterdam perhaps they will get round to building a bridge or tunnel here one day instead.

A bit tricky taking photos here as people are coming from, and going to, different directions. On the bright side hardly anyone noticed me as they were too busy looking out for other people.

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