News - November 13, 2014

Strong views on campus ring road

Text:
Roelof Kleis,Rob Ramaker

Access to Wageningen and its campus is bad. Every day, many staff members get stuck in traffic on the Mansholtlaan. The provincial government is looking into the possibilities for a new road around the campus. Is that road badly needed or isn’t it?



Enrico van den Bogaard, Board member residents’ association, Noordwest housing estate

‘There is opposition to such a road almost everywhere in Noordwest. At present the Binnenveld is a quiet patch of countryside. A ring road like that would hem Noordwest in and we don’t want that at all. If that is what is proposed, there will be hot opposition. It is remarkable and amazing that the province appears to take absolutely no notice of the municipal mobility plan that was drawn up two years ago. That plan is based on the idea of upgrading existing infrastructure. Studies show that this would create enough space for the traffic for a long time. Wageningen University stands for sustainability. Surely there must be a more creative and more Wageningen-worthy solution than a new road. We understand that the campus needs better access, but it needs one that takes everyone’s interests into consideration.’  


Tijs Breukink, Executive Board, Wageningen UR

‘The current access route onto the campus is unworkable. We’ve got to create a second proper access route in the short term. I am quite clear about that. Two weeks ago, W12 was set up: a group of 12 Wageningen employers. There is now a discussion going on between the municipal council and the provincial council about the best approach to that accessibility. We as W12 are happy to help think it through.In our view there are two options  for  creating  better  access  to  Wageningen  from  the north: improving the existing infrastructure or a campus ring road. We are not saying that ring road is an absolute must, but we are keen to find a sustainable and future-proof solution. Anyway, that ring road does not enable cars to get onto the campus from the western side. There are no plans for that at the moment. The so-called northern entrance, the turning towards the Bornsesteeg, is an important part of the plan.’   


Roel van Cauwenberghe, Recent WU graduate and council member for the Green Left party

‘We are strongly opposed to this road, since it would pass through a lovely rural area. The road will mean more animals being run over or scared away by noise and light. And then the Dassenbos thicket on the campus might have to be cut down. These things are disastrous. We agree that the traf- fic problem must be tackled. But we have agreed with the municipality not to build any new roads, but to widen existing ones instead. There is already a good plan for widening the Nijenoordallee and the Mansholtlaan. By doing that they will be able to cope with the volume of traffic for many years. That’s what makes this such a nonsensical plan.’ 


Louise Vet, Director NIOO and professor of Evolutionary Ecology

‘It is clear that something must be done. But I favour doing something that really makes a difference in the long term. One of the options is the campus  ring  road.  But  please  let’s not just slap down a sheet of asphalt in the old-fashioned way. It can and must be done differently. With a lot of creativity you can build in natural elements so that you create more biodiversity than there is now. You could consider a road that produces energy. It must be possible to come up with a good option in consultation with the residents of Noordwest. We should try to turn it into something nice. I don’t know how it will end, but that makes it quite exciting.’

 

Doortje Udo, Lives in Noordwest right next to the planned ring road|

‘Everyone who lives on the Dijkgraaf is against this. It is obvious that pollution with fine particles and noise will make living here less pleasant. What is more, you can only build this road by cutting down part of the Dassenbos. Whereas those are old woods of cultural-historical value, and they give us a bit of greenery in the neighbourhood. Pushing through the road to the Nijenoordallee will also create a monstrous amount of traffic. Already now, I can’t see how traffic flows in and out of the neighbourhood can be combined with the bus lane that is being created. Let alone if more cars come along here. My confidence that the WUR will go about this decently has plummeted to zero by now.’


Evert-JanHaalboom, Lives on the Kielekampsteeg and works at Unifarm

‘It’s just like a racetrack here at times. It starts getting busy at quarter to eight in the morning and goes on till about nine o’clock. And in the evening in the other direction. I used to like walking my dog here, but not anymore. The plans for a cycle path will only make it worse, I am afraid. Then cars won’t have to consider cyclists. It is obvious that something must be done. It should have been done 10 years ago, when it was decided to concentrate on one campus. But I don’t think things will move very fast. The municipality wants to conserve the nature areas in the Binnenveld and the residents of Noordwest are strongly against it.’






 Photo: Geert Jan Bruin