Today’s Headlines

  • A letter in Today’s NY Times argues that biking in the Netherlands is not a sign of affluence and free time but of pure economic incentives:

    To the Editor:

    “In the Netherlands, Life Runs on 2 Wheels (Sometimes 3)” (Ijmuiden Journal, Sept. 14) says the increase in bicycle ownership is a result of “greater affluence and more free time” in the Netherlands.

    In fact, the Dutch economy is a disaster. People are feeling more squeezed than they have in decades. They turn to bicycles because of the outrageous prices, not only for gas, but also for parking.

    In Amsterdam, where parking permits are distributed according to the district in which you live or register, parking in the city center can cost a good five euros per hour — if you can find a space.

    Consequently, someone who works in the city center but does not live there could conceivably pay 40 euros a day just to park a car on the street.

    Add to that the road tax, the cost of a parking permit in your own neighborhood, the poor quality of public transportation and the high cost of gasoline, and the solution of riding a bike is obvious.

    Abigail R. Esman
    New York, Sept. 14, 2006