Two additional cycle highways for the province of Antwerp
The Belgian province of Antwerp has already three large parts of bicycle highways but two new routes will be added: Lier-Herentals and Lier-Aarschot. With the construction of the bicycle highways, the province of Antwerp is investing in safe and comfortable bicycle routes over a longer distance, which are an ideal transport route for bicycle traffic to school, work or sports club.
A decent cycling quality
“The first plans for these cycle highways date from to 2011”, says Tina Cares, team responsible for Cycling policy at the province of Antwerp. “Since then, the guidelines for a cycle highway have been adjusted in terms of road width and material use.”
“In 2011, a width of 3 meters was sufficient, nowadays this must be at least 4 to 4,5 metres. In 2011, the focus was mainly on the missing connections, while we are now looking at how we can offer a decent cycling quality over the entire distance.”
Information sessions to highlight bottlenecks
In the region, there are already large parts of the F1 Antwerp-Mechelen cycle highway, F17 Boom-Lier and F16 Lint-Lier. In the meantime, the province is working on the plans for a series of subsequent cycle highways: the F103 Lier-Herentals will be 20 kilometres long, while the second, the F104 Lier-Aarschot, will count 26 kilometres.
Both routes run parallel to the rail link between the cities. At this early stage, the province presents the preferred future route to the inhabitants during information sessions, so that they have the opportunity to highlight certain bottlenecks that may have been overlooked.
Safety at railway crossings
Another element that has attracted more attention in recent years was safety when crossing railway crossings. “Due to the success of the cycle highways, many more cyclists cross the railway line to or from the cycle highway. More crossing traffic also leads to more crashes or incidents. The railway manager is very concerned about this and asks to limit the use of railway crossings as much as possible.”
The province tries to take this into account by staying on one sides as much as possible, just as they now also take into account the natural value of the areas they cross. “Therefore, we may well choose to stay on one side of the railway line for various reasons, while infrastructure is already in place on the other side, for example. The plans are still very premature and therefore far from concrete.”