CREA is an invaluable addition and more bicycle facilities are needed. These are two of the points that emerge from a neighbourhood survey of City Centre business owners, residents and visitors to the district. In early 2015, the city of Amsterdam's Department of Research, Information and Statistics (OIS) was commissioned by the district to conduct neighbourhood surveys. Almost 3,000 people, especially residents, gave their opinion on a diverse range of topics pertinent to the twenty different neighbourhoods that make up the City Centre district. In the Weesperbuurt neighbourhood, one of the issues was the UvA expansion on Roeterseiland.
The number of students who come to the area to study has increased and will continue to increase in the coming years. What do residents think about that? Over a third of the residents has a positive attitude, a quarter of them are not happy with the increase and over a third has a neutral attitude. In their reasoning many people indicate that they appreciate the liveliness that students bring with them. But they were less enthusiastic about the number of haphazardly parked bicycles around the Roeterseiland Campus. They recommend that more bicycle facilities be made available.
'A lot is already under way to put bicycle parking on the right track', says Carin Bosboom, UvA Area Manager. 'This includes the temporary deployment of extra bicycle coaches. They direct students to the various parking areas. We also label bikes with information about alternative bicycle parking places. And soon, during Intreeweek, we will be conducting activities with first-year students to get them to understand that they need to park their bikes on campus and not off campus. We regularly consult with the City of Amsterdam and work on structural solutions. But in addition to the extra people and resources we have deployed, there is also a change in behaviour involved.'
Another thing that emerged from the survey is that sixty per cent of the residents think the open city campus on Roeterseiland is an attractive spot for students, staff and residents. Thirty per cent are neutral on the issue, while eight per cent are negative. Many respondents indicated that the introduction of the Roeterseiland Campus is attracting more shops and restaurants, making the area more liveable, lively and dynamic. CREA is considered to be an invaluable addition for both residents and students. The opening of the campus is also expected to lead to increased investment in public transportation and public spaces.
Kiki Lauterslager, a senior staff member in Urban Renewal for the City Centre district, explains that the neighbourhood surveys are repeated annually so as to be able to address each area's needs. 'The survey results serve as input for the city's annual plans for the individual neighbourhoods. For instance, in the Plantage and Weesper neighbourhoods, the city is taking measures to improve the way bicycle traffic is regulated. An example of this is the safer crossing that has been put in at the intersection of Sarphatistraat with Pancrasstraat.'
For more information about area-specific activity and reports reports on the neighbourhood survey go to www.centrum.amsterdam.nl