Casa “The Excavators.”
Cadastre data: Graafseweg 239, 6531 ZS, Nijmegen; section Hatert M 755; Owner: Real Estate Malden (which owns also student houses 223 – 237), purchased in 1999 for Dutch guilders 356,000 (€152,016).
Joost de Lange (19) lives with nine other housemates in a cozy house on the Graafseweg. In a typical student house and with so many people under one roof, there is something everywhere: empty bottles of liquor, stacked dishes and things lying around here and there. We were allowed to take a digital look at casa “The Excavators.” Nothing is necessary, everything is allowed. They have no obligations. But that does not mean they are averse to a house party here and there, a drink at the bar in their huge garden or an extensive dinner in the hallway. Due to the corona crisis, they mainly depend on each other. Joost explains: “We do a lot of fun things together: rollerblading, yoga, being creative and chilling in the garden. But there is certainly also the space to withdraw and do your own thing. We all have occasional needs for that ourselves.”
Student houses often come up with a nice name for their home. “At first we didn’t really have a name. It was quite a challenge to come up with something nice, we wanted it to have something to do with where we live. After a big brainstorm, we turned it into “The Excavators”. After all, we are all machines because we work very hard and live on the Graafseweg.”
All over the place
Everyone has their own room, but we actually chill everywhere and nowhere. Some roommates like to study together and have converted one room into a UB, we often use the rooms that are the largest as a living room and in good weather we can always be found in our relaxed garden of sixty square meters. Every now and then we sit in our communal living room, but it is often so dirty that we prefer to sit in someone’s room.”
“When we are together, things are often called idle things. Since there are so many crazy statements made, we just made a list of them. The idea was expressed during quarantine, which is why the wall has been given this name.” The corona wall is already pretty full of student-like statements like, “Even the dotted area is closed” and “I’m going home with the ambulance or I’m not going.” “Little by little we extend the wall further, but in a short time there is already quite a bit on it.”
Home made bar
With such a large garden it is no punishment to be stuck together. “Especially now that we are at home a lot, we often sit here all together. We will soon be putting our swimming pool back on and recently we have also been regularly at our home-made bar.” They have put together the unit – as they call it – all by themselves. It actually started as a joke. Because of the quarantine we are at home a lot and we wanted to sit more in our garden. A housemate then arranged wood and assembled the bar with a few people. “So far we have benefited greatly from it. In good weather we like to drink a cold beer at the bar or relax in the sun in our sunbeds.”
Joost’s room is located in the basement and is adjacent to the garden. “I can mainly be found here while studying. But most of the time I am in a roommate’s room, it is always cozy there. ”Several hats hang on Joost’s wall. “I have many and am therefore known as the hatter of the house. I even got a sombrero from a roommate, so you know it.” On his wall hangs a canvas with animals from Namibia. “My parents love to travel, so we took us to the most beautiful places in the world from an early age. I always bring something as a souvenir. I also brought a book from Thailand and received a sash as a gift at a restaurant in Colombia.”
Important traffic artery in Nijmegen has narrowed further from four to two runways.
The Graafseweg is further narrowed. In the future, the section between the railway bridge and the crossing with the Wolfskuilseweg will also go from four to two carriageways. The Nijmegen city council decided that on Wednesday evening. The narrowing creates space for a bus lane inland, cycle paths on both sides of the road and a parallel lane on the Willemskwartier side. Work will start as soon as the renovation of the Waal Bridge is completed, probably next year.
After an earlier narrowing of the Graafseweg between Keizer Karelplein and the railway bridge, the approach between the bridge (crossing Rozenstraat) and Wolfkuilseweg was long discussed. Months ago, traffic alderman Harriët Tiemens proposed to reduce that trajectory from four to two jobs, but found no majority on the council. Coalition party SP put his heels in the sand. As expected, the majority came up on Wednesday evening with the plan to expand the Graafseweg on the relevant section into a two-lane road with room for a bus lane. The PvdA recently announced that it embraces that option. Because there is also support from coalition parties D66 and GroenLinks, the shovel can soon be grounded.
In recent months, the municipality had seven scenarios for the Graafseweg calculated. The bottom line: at worst, narrowing down would lose fifteen seconds of travel time. VVD councilor Maarten Bakker criticizes this calculation: “The city is growing, but the Graafseweg is narrowing. That road is filled with eyes and the city is locked. How will residents of Dukenburg still get to the center?”
According to Ammar Selman (PvdA), people who do not have to be in the center can detour via, for example, the S100. “This way the Graafseweg will remain accessible as Nijmegen grows. The city is not locked. There will be more space for public transport and cyclists on the Graafseweg. Moreover, the quality of life for local residents improves.”
Incidentally, the entire Graafseweg is not thickened. The last section out of town – between Wolfskuilseweg and Neerbosscheweg – retains four lanes.
We have presently a big problem regarding the traffic in front of our houses. Presently there are city inbound 2 traffic lanes and 1 cycling path. At the other site, where the city outbound traffic is, we have 2 traffic lanes Graafseweg outbound, 1 traffic exit lane to the left (Groenestraat), 1 traffic exit lane to the right (Wolfkuilseweg) plus a separate service road annex cycling path:
On a rainy 10 January 2020, the present situation, city inbound.
The people, living at this part of the Graafseweg, have limited parking space (unless you ha a parking lot at your property, but that is limiting the size of your frontyard). And because the Graafseweg is a straight connection from the outskirts of the city towards the city center, this track (50Km/31M) invites to speed limiting. Public transport (bus lines 2, 99, 331) have to mix with the normal traffic, creating sometimes hilarious situations at the 3 nearby busstops. But… there is hope. The city council decided last week, that the present situation is too stessful and too dangerous. And there is a plan…
The same part of the Graafseweg as on the picture “10 January 2020”, but now with 1 inbound traffic lane, 1 inbound bus lane, a cycling path and the enlarged footpath. Between the bus lane and the traffic lane there is a “green separation wall”. City outbound the same situation, but in addition there will be a parking lot at the service road.
Upgrading Graafseweg: fewer lanes, more space for cyclists.
De Graafseweg will be undergoing major changes. The stretch from Rozenstraat (just behind the bridge over the rail track) to Wolfskuilseweg goes from four to two lanes. The section from the Wolfskuilseweg to the Cavaljéweg (a line of about 400 meters) remains four-lane, but gets narrower lanes. According to the lord mayor and aldermen, the changes ensure that traffic from outside the city no longer uses the center as a transit route to Arnheim. In the new situation, cyclists also get more space thanks to the construction of a wider cycle path or service road. Work on the Graafseweg will start as soon as the renovation on the Waal bridge is completed. This is estimated at the beginning of 2021. The Commission expects motorists to be on the Graafseweg for a maximum of 15 seconds in the new situation. According to alderman Harriët Tiemens, the redesign of the Graafseweg has many advantages: ,,It will improve road safety and quality of life. The Graafseweg is now sometimes used as a highway. We really have to get rid of that.”
New bicycle crossing
Also new: a bicycle crossing at the Cavaljéweg. This would mean that the current bicycle crossing at the Verbindingsweg, just under a hundred meters away, would be removed. Two years ago a serious accident took place at the Verbindingsweg, in which a 31-year-old cyclist died. Tiemens: ,,The planned adjustment also has everything to do with safety. The Connection Road is not a logical place for cyclists to cross.” The narrowing means that there will be room to construct a wider cycle path or even a service road on the residents’ side of the Graafseweg. That happens in consultation with the residents, says Tiemens: “They have the best view of that.” The number of lanes remains intact between Wolfskuilseweg and Cavaljéweg. “If we remove lanes there, there is a chance that nearby roads will be used as shortcuts and become overloaded.”
Previous work on the Graafseweg
In 2017, the section between Keizer Karelplein and Rozenstraat was already reduced from four to two lanes. Research has since shown that the effects of this on car traffic are minimal. According to the city council, the layout of the Graafseweg is still largely the same as in the seventies of the last century, when it was considered an important route between the north and south of the Netherlands. With the arrival of the A50 in 1976 and the construction of the bridge “The Crossing” in 2013, the Graafseweg no longer has that function. A narrowing is therefore only logical, according to the commission. GroenLinks, the largest party in the Nijmegen city council, also believes that changes to the Graafseweg are necessary. “There are reports of motorists driving 114 kilometers per hour on the Graafseweg,” says councilor Quirijn Lokker. ,,The redesign greatly increases the quality of life for local residents. There are hardly any disadvantages for motorists.”
Criticism from opposition and coalition party SP
Not everyone agrees with this: the Nijmegen groups from the VVD, Stadspartij DNF and VoorNijmegen, among others, have always strongly opposed a narrowing. That is no different now. “An idiotic plan,” says Maarten Bakker (VVD). “Why should bicycle paths be widened there? I have never heard of bicycle jams on Graafseweg. And liveability can also be increased without lanes disappearing. For example, consider extra green spaces along the road.” Finally Bakker finds changes to the Graafseweg premature: ,,Why don’t we wait until the s100 (route over Energieweg and The Crossing) flows through properly before we even start thinking about these kinds of things?” coalition partner SP is critical. “First I want to get all the facts right,” says SP leader Hans van Hooft. ,,What does an adjustment to the Graafseweg mean for the surrounding neighborhoods? On what does the alderman base the 15-second delay? If I am honest, I see few clues for this plan at the moment.”
With these temperatures ( >30º C.) we have dinner at the terrace of the pond. From there you have the most beautiful views at our assortment of flowers in the backyard. This one hangs down from the little balcony at the end of the ground floor of the house. We enjoy -starting 9PM- also the company of bats.