Today several companies and social organizations submitted a statement to the House of Representatives, calling for improved accessibility in the Netherlands. Because although the Netherlands is known as a cycling country, spatial planning increasingly forces people to take a car. This was stated by Marjolein Demers, Director of Nature and Environment.
Organizations call for an accessible Netherlands: 'Focus on people, not on traffic jams'
This is a problem, Demers says, because not every family has a car. A quarter of households do not have a car, and there is often a good reason for this. For example, it is expensive or because people do not have the opportunity to use a car due to health problems or other restrictions. “This is a very large group.”
For this reason, a group of 29 companies and social organizations, including NS, the Cyclists' Union, KWF and FNV, are now calling on politicians to reduce distances in the Netherlands. According to Demers, people are increasingly forced to go to work more often and for longer. In addition, not every village or city has facilities such as a hospital and supermarket.
“There is now a lot of focus on a way to get to certain places faster and the distance is increasing, but the roads are already congested and already full of traffic jams. This also has serious consequences for health and nature. Distances must be reduced so that people can reach their destinations in a different way.”
MP Habtamu de Hoop from GroenLinks-PvdA sees accessibility as a major topic in the Dutch regions. For many people in the area, amenities are becoming increasingly remote. In addition, regional transportation is under enormous pressure. It is crucial that we turn the tide. This can be achieved, according to Demers, by achieving greater convergence on the one hand, for example by reducing distances between facilities, and on the other hand by improving public transportation.
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Demers believes that public transportation in the Netherlands is relatively well organized, but at the same time he also sees a deterioration in public transportation. “Many workshops are difficult to reach, and one in five industrial areas is poorly served by public transport. Then you have to look for solutions. This could be a bus line, but also public transport tailored to specific target groups.
Concretely, companies and social organizations want to recognize through this statement that maintaining access to the Netherlands will be an important topic for the new government. According to Demers, it is important that the focus on mobility and getting somewhere quickly shifts to the importance of spatial planning. “We actually want it to be about the people and the destinations, and much less about the highways and traffic jams,” Demers concludes.
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