0632-Nijmegen

Nijmegen parking garage is a homeless hotel: beds made in a technical room.
The parking garage under the Basic Fit gym on Tweede Walstraat in Nijmegen is used by homeless people to sleep, use alcohol and drugs and poop. Residents of the apartment complex above that use the garage are annoyed by the unwanted wanderer hotel and feel unsafe. On Tuesday, two uninvited residents were caught and the garage sent out by the municipality’s and police officers with their whole property. The two gliders had made it easy for themselves. In a technical room, no larger than one by two meters, lay cushions, blankets, bottles of liquor and beer cans. The loft was used by a man and a woman. According to a resident of the complex who was at the eviction, it was about Poland. It seems that they have been using the space for a long time, because all kinds of personal items were stored, such as bags and shoes. In addition to the loft there was a great smell of excrement and urine. Dora Raijmakers’ car (84) is right next to the technical room and the shit and pee place. “I haven’t just been walking to the parking garage lately,” she says.

Anxious
She is afraid of finding someone and that fear is not unjustified. In the past few months she has already driven people away twice who do not belong in the apartment complex. One man was running joints at her door. When she spoke to him, he said he was visiting another resident of the complex, but the resident did not know the man. “I’m really scared,” she says. Her husband died not long ago and since then she lives alone in the apartment. She fears that somebody will be in her house one day. She doesn’t tell her children what’s going on. “I would not dare to do that. I am ashamed.”

Children
The complex has around 15 households. Among the residents are the elderly, but also families with young children. “They can find anything”, says a resident who wants to remain anonymous. “Beer cans, butts, but also needles. I have disposable gloves in my car that I can use to clean up the mess in the parking garage.” Several times a month residents see trash from people who have hung in the garage or elsewhere in the complex. That sleep is also happening since about four months. It is a mystery to the residents how the intruders enter. The door to the parking garage is forced and can be pushed open with a big beech, but a drop is needed to enter the building at all.

Camera images
A neighbor has seen that homeless people go inside with a pass. This fits in with the camera images that show that two men with a sports bag walk in as if they have a key. A third man who is also trying to slip in, is just too late. Every now and then, intruders are caught. “Then they pretend they are visiting or they say they are renting something here.” The uninvited guests scare multiple residents. The anonymous resident knows that some people park their cars elsewhere in order not to have to go to the parking garage. “It’s too crazy for words. You are no longer safe in your own home.”

0631-Graafseweg’s headache file: traffic 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.

0614-Holiday travel

0607-Holiday travel

0606-Itinerary

The blog post of the entire holiday  will be posted about 23 November 2019.

0605-Oncology

A week ago I started a fundraising campaign for the benefit of the research about cancer, here in Nimwegen, at the Radboud University Medical Center. I want to collect donations, I donate myself on a yearly basis of € 1,000.00 and I want to organise a beneficiary concert by the Nijmegen Byzantine Choir.

Via this secured link: Singing for Oncology you will see the website of the Radboud Oncology Fund and my own page on it: Singing for Oncology. If you want to donate, you can do it in several ways. Within the Netherlands you can use the “iDeal”-payment, outside the Netherlands you can use a creditcard:  Master Card, Visa and American Express. When you donate, fill out the required text fields:

  • Donatiebedrag – Amount of donation (in Euro’s only!)
  • Voornaam – First (given) name
  • Achternaam – Family name
  • E-mailadres – Email address
  • Postcode – Postal code / Zipcode
  • Huisnummer – House number
  • Straat – Street
  • Plaats – City
  • Land – Country (e.g. UK = Verenigd Koninkrijk)

Click on: “Naar betalen” (= process payment) and fill out the fields of your creditcard. When you click on the next box, your payment will be processed, and you will receive an email. The “Singing for Oncology” will also receive an email.

0600-Nijmegen

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.”

PR dgfoto Gelderlander Nijmegen: Graafseweg stad uitwaards

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.”

0592-Nijmegen

“I see it as my duty to cherish this house”

In the series The most beautiful house in Nijmegen this time a look at Jurriaan Gerritz, resident of Sint Annastraat 175.

,,This house, from 1910, is of incredible beauty, with a mix of styles. All original elements have been preserved and beautifully restored by the previous occupant. Even the garden is original. If you cycle past this building, you will hardly notice it. The façade, with blue natural stone and sober ornamentation, is understated: Dutch Jugendstil. The tower at the top seems low, but inside it is twice as high. Inside you enter the spacious hall with the beautiful staircase. A bit of English country house style. The hall serves as a living space there. We also use it as such. Sometimes we eat here with a lot of people. And beautiful, that skylight with stained glass on the roof. Also special.”

,,During the Four Days Marches, a lady suddenly stood at the door. She was the granddaughter of the man who built this house for himself, one of the Haspels brothers. These were leading designers and builders who left a big mark on the Nijmegen canals. We took a picture of her on the stairs. She will tell us more about the house one day.”

,,In the interior you can see the Arts and Crafts movement, which connects art and craftsmanship. Painting of walls and ceilings. Stained glass windows with details of flowers, bees … I still keep discovering things. For example, I found a wood paneling behind a panel. With this technique, a more expensive type of wood was painted on a cheap plate. And I discovered a place where a fireplace had been.”

,,It’s a family home. We would move here after the sale, three years ago, when my father-in-law fell. We have adapted the house so that he could live here on the ground floor. We are a few doors down, but we also use this property. It is wonderful to be here with friends, or alone, without the hectic pace of family life. Or to come together with people for dinners or parties.”

“Some friends live upstairs and there is a practice room. My father, a painter, uses the house as an exhibition space. The intention is that we will withdraw here in a while. I see it as my task to cherish this house and make good use of it.”

0575-Walk of the World

R E G I S T R A T I O N

The marches start next Tuesday. Prior to the start there are two days for the registration; showing your email confirmation for  participation you get a plastic wristband, with QR-codes on it (picture below); the QR-codes contain: subscriptionnumber, distance you walk every day, and a start code. The start codes are a walking shoe and a gladiolus. The gladiolus indicates early starts (6.45am) on Tuesday and Thursday, and late starts (7.30am) at Wednesday and Friday. Pierre and I have -as walking shoe- the opposite schedule. The term “30km/20M per day” is also rather relevant: day 1 33.2KM/22.13M, day 2 33.6Km/22.4M, day 3 30.5Km/20.33M and day 4 30Km/20M. Plus each day  home-start and finish-home = 6.32Km/4.21M. In total we walk the total of the daily marches plus 4 times the return trips home-start/finish = 152.6Km/101.73M. The average distance per day (home-start-march-finish-home) is 38.15Km/25.43M.