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Three-day trial for limited access to Minervapassage

From the morning of Tuesday, 16 April, fencing is closing off one of the two entrances of the Minervapassage in Gustav Mahlerplein. We are running a trial to find out if it is possible for passengers to reach the station comfortably without too much delay when the southern access route is reduced by half. We are monitoring the situation constantly and will step in if necessary. On the morning of Friday, 19 April, passengers will have full access again.

Valuable information

Based on mathematical models and (anonymised) measurements from ProRail on visitor numbers in the passageway, we can already make a relatively accurate prediction of the consequences of partial closure of the entrance. In addition, a recent ATM explosion at Amsterdam Zuid station (which featured in an AT5 report) also showed that the station remains accessible when one of the tunnels is sealed off. But for pedestrian flow consultant Bart Wiggers (ProRail), there are still very good reasons for conducting the trial: ‘I’m eager to double-check the existing data, ‘going for the extra mile’ as we call it. As for the ATM explosion, lots of people were warned to avoid Amsterdam Zuid station by the news channels. So, that probably presents a distorted picture.’

Monitoring and adjusting

Wiggers and his colleagues are keeping a close eye on the effects of the closure for travellers. ‘The biggest risk is that groups of passengers arriving and departing will collide with each other in the 5 m wide tunnel’, explains Wiggers. ‘But, it’s a relatively short tunnel with open lines of sight, so I don’t expect too many challenges. And we can always reopen the other tunnel if necessary.’ The monitoring is also providing Wiggers with other useful insights: ‘We started by closing the eastern tunnel on Tuesday morning. But it then emerged that there was insufficient guidance for blind and hard-of-hearing people left over in the section that remained open, so we switched them around immediately.’

In the morning rush-hour, the eastern tunnel was closed
As soon as the crowds receded, we switched the closure around

Future renovation of Minervapassage

When the new Brittenpassage opens (in 2027 at the latest), the existing Minervapassage will be closed for thorough renovation over a three-year period. From May 2025 until the start of the renovation work, we will be (partially) closing the entrance to Mahlerplein for a longer period in order to prepare the logistics for construction. By conducting this trial, we aim to see what will happen in that kind of situation, and this will probably not be the end of it. In the busy September period of this year, when the holidays have finished and the academic year starts, Wiggers plans to do another trial. ‘That time, the focus will be on crowd control: what can we do during the closure to ensure that access remains as safe and comfortable as possible?’ In any case, this kind of partial closure will feel familiar to some passengers: until the construction of the second tunnel in 2019 it was only possible to access the station via the 5 m wide eastern tunnel.

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