The Municipality of Eindhoven in The Netherlands strives for an attractive, healthy, green and easily accessible city centre. The work to achieve this vision resulted in the transformation of the Vestdijk road into an urban boulevard, creating more space for pedestrians and cyclists and hosting more green areas. Before the transformation, the Vestdijk - an important road in the city centre of Eindhoven - used to be a grey main road mostly used by cars. As a result of this, the air quality in the city centre was below par and the air quality measurements on the Vestdijk indicated that the European standards were not met. The Municipality therefore decided that car traffic had to be reduced, the number of green spaces had to be increased, and the space dedicated to pedestrians and cyclists had to become more attractive. The Vestdijk became one of the UNaLab demonstration areas for nature-based solutions in Eindhoven.
The Vestdijk road is located near the shopping area in the city centre of Eindhoven. The accessibility of the city centre by car was therefore an important issue for shop owners in the planning process, and many other stakeholders also had opinions on the elements that should be included in the new design of the road. Numerous parties were involved in the co-creation process, and the new design for the Vestdijk was created together and in consultation with the local stakeholders. The goal was clear: to create an attractive urban boulevard. The planning and design process was followed by the construction process, which started in September 2018 and lasted until June 2020.
The reconstructed Vestdijk now only has one lane left for cars and one for buses. The desired traffic reduction has therefore been achieved and the air quality in the area has improved. The remaining space of the boulevard is now available for pedestrians and cyclists to use, and parts of it has also been transformed into green spaces. The trees and plants in the new green spaces have been selected to enhance the attractiveness of and the biodiversity in the area. A climate-adaptive water storage system has also been installed to tackle the flooding problem on the Vestdijk and in its immediate surroundings. Furthermore, the soil quality has been improved for the plants and to increase the infiltration capacity. The introduction of more green spaces on the boulevard and less pavement has also reduced the heat stress problem in the area.