Yes, to chestnut trees, No to tram tunnel
Brainstorming Group wants new motor-traffic tunnel in The Hague
Council information evening on Koninginnegracht tram tunnel
NO to tunnel for tram 9, YES to tunnel for NWH
C H E S T N U T T R E E S
10 February 2011 – The final word on the fate of the majestic horse chestnuts along Koninginnegracht is a positive one! During the council meeting to vote on the above-ground proposal for the tram route, the outcome was unanimous: YES to preserving the chestnut trees along the waterside and NO to tunnel.
Chairman of the A&W Community Association, Wybe Taekema, was relieved at the decision. On behalve of fellow residents he expressed his thanks to all the individuals and organisation who fought to save the 25 magnificent trees that grow along Koninginnegracht between Riouwsraat and Javastraat.
See the chairman on THEXPAT.TV talking about the horse chestnut trees along Koninginnegracht and the decision to reprieve them . View here
15 July 2010 – The Kamer van Koophandel (Chamber of Commerce) blames the congestion along the Koningskade/Raamweg route on motor traffic not public transport. This is why the KvK is in favour of a tunnel for motor traffic between the Utrechtse Baan and the Hubertusviaduct. Members of the Brainstorming Group, asked to advise on the subject by the alderman responsible for traffic, unanimously agree.
All parties agree that motor traffic on the Koningskade/Raamweg route in The Hague is too often gridlocked. Alderman Smit wants to construct a tram tunnel along the Central Station/Madurodam route. The extensive brainstorming group for public transport on Raamweg totally disagrees. Motor traffic is the source of the problem and this is where the solution lies.
There are around 100 million euros available for improvements to the public transport system between Central Station/Madurodam; the route that continues on to Scheveningen is one of the busiest in The Hague. The Brainstorming Group, consisting of community organizations, nature preservation groups and travellers lobby groups, as well as the KvK, advises on the most suitable options available. Eyesore solutions like a tram viaduct along Raamweg are rejected out of hand and similar variants do little to relieve the congestion. Traffic simulations indicate that trams contribute very little to the congestion and therefore a tram tunnel is unnecessary. Improvements to the current tram route would be more sensible and productive.
The Brainstorming Group’s will send its final report containing descriptions of all the variants considered to Alderman Smit, and the Municipal Executive will present its decision to the City Council after the summer recess.
11 March 2010 – The Nieuwspoort Press Centre was so jam-packed that members of the audience spilled out into the hallway, where it was difficult to hear Jantien Tideman, project leader from the Department of Urban Development (DSO), giving her PowerPont presentation. She explained the investigation being undertaken concerning the tram 9 service, the background history to the whole business and the approach that will be applied. The meeting came about because of a council motion taken on 4 February 2010 to conduct a detailed study to prevent any decisions being taken on the subject of the tram tunne before the proper homework has been done.
A feedback group has been formed consisting primarily of representatives from organizations who have a vested interest in the project. This group has been tasked to review various alternative plans in a series of meetings (16/3, 31/3, 22/4, 10/5) and to report back with its findings and opinions. Two strong objections were voiced, however, about the conditions under which the group would have to carry out its review:
- The extremely tight schedule for the review process, which makes it practically impossible to compile a well-grounded opinion;
- The members of this sounding-board committee must confine their review to criteria set out by the council. Willem van Gijn (working party traffic) will represent the A&W residents Association.
On Wednesday 3 March 2010 we will be voting for a new city council.
Scrutinize your preferred party’s election manifesto and ask:
- Will the plan for tunnel for tram 9 be blocked?
- Is there an intergrated tunnel plan for the NWH (Main North West Arterial Route) in the manifesto?
- Is the blocking of the tunnel plan for Johan de Wittlaan in the manifesto?
All three points not only have serious consequences both for the quality of life of every Archipel & Willemspark resident and for access to their own neighbourhood, but also for every other inhabitant in The Hague.
If you want to hear first-hand what the party councillors have to say on these points, come to the specially organized meeting at the Klokhuis Communuty Centre on Monday evening 8 February.
Keep it on the ground, not under it
17 January 2010 – According to the AD newspaper, if the tram tunnel under Koninginnegracht does go ahead, tram stops remaining above ground will be near Sumatrastraat and midway between Dr.Kuyperstraat and Houtweg (NieuwUitleg).
But the stop near Sumatrastraat will not actaully be possible and the closest option will be the stop 150 metres further on at Riouwstraat (where there already is a stop). The stops currently at Laan Copes and Dr. Kuyperstraat will disappear and the one currently at Javastraat will disappear underground. And once a public transport system goes underground all kinds of other safety criteria come into play. This will probably mean that at Javastraat a new entrance will have to be built for the tram travelling to Schveningen and two lifts and escalators for this one stop: one for each direction.
The paper also states 12 particularly ancient trees and 40 others along the city side of the canal will have to go to make way for the tunnel.
Traffic chaos will also be part of the whole undertaking due to the installation of temporary sheet pile walls, well-point drainage systems, outlet reservoir tunnels and two sections of detour track 250 meteres long as well as the reconstruction of the narrow Javabrug, Dr.Kuyperdam and the Bosbrug, and possibly even the Raambrug (Laan Copes van Cattenburgh).
Chestnut trees along Koninginnegracht still under threatt
26 January 2011 – Mr. Frits Prillevitz, chairman of the AVN (The Hague’s very own Nature Conservation Society), appealed – also on behalf of the A&W Residents Association – for the preservation of the chestnut trees along Koninginnegracht during a meeting of the Commissie Leefomgeving (Environment Committee).
Both the AVN and the A&W have urgently requested the Committee and the municipal council to prevent the majestic trees from being felled to make way for the version of the new tram route Alderman Smit is determined to push through, and to consider the advice published by the Adviesraad Monumentale Bomen (advisory body for historical trees).
The 25 splendid trees are in good health and with the correct care will very likely reach the ripe old age of 100 to 150. The adoption of the so-called bomenviaduct option would also help ensure their longevity. The tram tunnel Brainstorming Group is also calling for the preservation of the trees, especially the horse chestnuts.
If a tram tunnel is located under Koninginnegracht, the magnificent chestnut trees will probably be axed.