Survey Utrecht Science Park: majority is for car-free environment

Should the Utrecht Science Park be car-free? Photo DUB

The municipality is developing an environmental vision of the Utrecht Science Park. The municipal council wants to make a decision about it in the autumn. To know what the residents and visitors of the Utrecht Science Park want, an extensive survey was conducted (link in Dutch, ed.) in October and November. A total of 3190 students, employees and residents of the USP completed the questionnaire. Residents of surrounding neighbourhoods and municipalities have also been asked for their opinion. In addition, 486 interviews were conducted.

The most important point for improvement that students and staff propose is improving the accessibility of the area. Respondents in particular believe that the quality of the bicycle facilities, the bicycle parking spaces and the safety of the crossings could be improved. Public transport can be a lot better as well. The problem, however, is that the survey was conducted in October and November. The tram was not yet running at that time.

Car-free environment
A point of discussion is whether the area should be made car-free. A majority would appreciate a car-free Uithof. This number is significantly higher among students (who mainly come by bike) and UU employees than among employees who work at other companies at the Utrecht Science Park. You can see that cyclists are in favour and people who come by car are not. With a car-free USP, the parking places will be at the edges of the area. Half of the respondents would find a maximum walking distance of 6 minutes acceptable.

Many people support the arrival of a supermarket. The presence of only the Spar University is perceived as too limited. This is not a new notion. The discussion regarding this has been going on for years. It is possible that in time a large supermarket will be built at Archimedesweg near Rijnsweerd. The residents of Utrecht Science Park have the strongest desire for a supermarket.

More recreation
Not only is there a need for a supermarket, other stores and more catering facilities are required as well. "It must be cosy in the area", is a frequently mentioned comment. People think of terraces, public seating areas and parks.

When it comes to the use of the landscape, the largest group (47 percent) thinks of more space for recreation, for example more walking routes. A third of the respondents would use the landscape for generating sustainable energy, for example with solar panels. A rather large group of 34 percent doesn't want to change the landscape at all.

Own interests
The survey shows desires that we have actually been hearing for years. In that respect, there is little news. Moreover, it is difficult to distil clear results. Each group has its own wishes. For example, students mention the expansion of self-study places as an important point for attention. And employees of research companies are more in favour of a better traffic flow.

The same applies when it comes to the construction of new homes. It is mainly students (80 percent) who advocate for more student housing. Other employees are not against this (41 percent), but would also like to see housing for other groups, such as employees or PhD students. A large part of the residents of surrounding neighbourhoods and municipalities want no new homes to be built at all.

Environmental Vision University
The University itself is already working with the partners in the Utrecht Science Park on a plan for the layout of the area. Making the environment lively and liveable plays an important role in this. These plans are also included in the municipality's decision-making.