On Wednesday 16 June, alderman Chris Dekker of the municipality of Middelburg (NL) and dike warden Toine Poppelaars of the Scheldestromen Water Board officially gave the go-ahead for work on the Kanaalweg and the station area in Middelburg.
Zeeland also has to deal with the consequences of climate change, including drought, heat and heat stress. Heat records are regularly broken. This is happening more and more. Within the Interreg 2 Seas project Cool Towns, this is being addressed by measuring the perceived temperature in order to gain more insight into how the heat problem for Zeeland and Middelburg in particular can be reduced by designing the public space to be climate and heat stress resistant.
Countering the negative effects of climate change
An pilot project is the redevelopment of the Kanaalweg and the station area in Middelburg. The work consists of the redesign of the Stationsplein with a connection to the renovated Stationsbrug, the connection of the student housing to Kanaalweg and tackling the poor quality of the foot and bicycle paths due to the root pressure. The approach to this area is part of a plan to combat the negative effects of climate change. The citycouncil of Middelburg has made a budget available for this work. The work is also part of the European Interreg project Cool Towns.
Scheldt Streams Water Board
The Scheldt Streams Water Board is an important partner in tackling climate adaptation. Climate is the common thread in the policy and actions of the Water Board and is therefore an observer partner of the Cool Towns project. Adapting the environment around the Waterschapsgebouw into an attractive green space is in line with this policy.
The startingpoint for the design is that the traffic function of the Kanaalweg will not disappear. In the design, the crossing of cyclists and pedestrians is bundled at 2 locations, on either side of Stationsplein. In order to make the area greener, it has been decided to use less pavement and more greenery. More greenery leads to more shade, less heat and less nuisance during heavy precipitation. Additional advantages are that the area becomes a more pleasant living environment for living, walking and cycling.
In order to increase the green area, the paved strip between the existing row of trees along the canal will be designed as a green strip. The maneuvering areas for turning traffic in front of the station (now no longer in use as such) and the strip between the cycle path and the carriageway will also be designed as a green strip. Finally, the strip between the existing trees in front of the station will also be designed as a green area. On balance, the municipality of Middelburg can soften an area of approximately 2,700 m2.
In addition, the municipality is taking a number of measures to cool the area. The growing areas of the existing trees along the canal will be improved. As a result, the trees increase in size and the shadow effect is increased. In addition, we are planting extra trees in front of the station to create more shade. By turning the existing glass roof of the bus stop into a green roof and providing the canteen area for bus drivers with green walls, we create cooling here.
Finally, attention is paid to the connection with the inner city. All monumental buildings in the city center are lined with a special type of pavement: the so-called Middelburg mix. By also applying this paving around the (soon to be renovated) station building, the municipality makes the building a recognizable part of the inner city (experience). In line with the Canal Zone vision, it has been decided to retain the existing pavement along the canal.