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Hundreds of bicyclists pour through Dutch museum

Published on NewsOK Modified: May 13, 2013 at 2:21 pm •  Published: May 13, 2013

But in 2005, the bike lobby won, and an altered design that allowed the path was approved. But in 2008, a new museum director, Wim Pijbes, renewed the fight against the bike path, proposing alternative locations.

In 2012, the government of the Amsterdam borough where the museum is located joined Pijbes. It said a traffic study had determined the bikes should be routed around the building, to protect pedestrians.

"The city has chosen for the future," Pijbes proclaimed in April 2012.

But the bicyclists again fought back. Dueling petitions in favor of and against the bike path were launched, with the one circulated by the pro-bike path lobby gaining more signatures, by a 3 to 1 margin.

The city ruled again in favor of the bike path last June, and the 2005 plan is for the most part what became reality.

The floors of the courtyards were dug out, and the museum's new entrance was placed below street level. The old path is now enclosed in glass, affording bikes and pedestrians a view of the museum as they cruise through.

In an interview with The Associated Press ahead of the museum's reopening last month, Pijbes declined comment on the path. "It's out of my hands," he said.

Borough government spokesman Adam Cetindag said Monday that some safety issues remain unresolved and it is not clear if the path will be open on all busy days.

But Rinske Wieman, spokeswoman for the City's Traffic Minister, said the path will definitely be open all day and night.

"This is a decision that was made by the city council, the highest democratic organization in the city," she said. "Everybody had a chance to participate and debate, as we do so well in the Netherlands.

"In the end, it's democracy that decides."