The wide and contiguous ring around Amsterdam is perhaps the greatest symbol of Europe’s slow-moving, mega-congested capital. One of the city’s most famous driveways, known as the Phoenix Passage, has to be avoided at all costs — particularly if one were to be heading to the offices of Amazon, the most serious job-creating machine of them all.
Up to 60,000 more cars come to the “Delivery Route Man” from the neighboring Dutch province of Zandvoort every day, with a further 10,000 driven in by people from San Diego and other parts of California heading to work in the Dutch city’s biggest office park, in and around the open-air Transporthalle.
How do the work and residents feel about the burden of this extra traffic on the already full road? A report released last month by the new Movement of People (Dunner) movement in Amsterdam looked at the issue and found that conditions for the local car drivers and residents were terrible: Between February 2016 and February 2017, for example, 135 to 212 car accidents were recorded every day on a two-kilometer stretch of roadway, which carries a daily average of 2,200 vehicles.
About a third of all car accidents in this area occurred on the narrow trunk road of the area that corresponds to Zandvoort, which was created in the early 1980s. The road runs along a sports field and a very long access road, known as the Rocket Bridge, an important cause of congestion.
Despite its pretty scenery, its five tourist attractions, such as numerous views of the canal and the Reider Bus bridge at the top of the nearby canals, and, quite frankly, its long summer nights, the official Dunner report says these issues pale into insignificance in comparison to the black, choking cloud of car fumes created by a single emergency rescue mission crossing this road. It even stated that “sustained road traffic congestion is the most frequent reason for death in Amsterdam.”
The only good thing, however, is that the latest numbers from the Dutch Health Department show that the number of emergency fires has fallen by almost 20 percent over the past 10 years.