D66 Election Manifesto for Zuidoost in English
D66 has a detailed manifesto for the 2018-2022 governance period in Amsterdam which also specifies our positions regarding Zuidoost:
MANIFESTO FOR ZUIDOOST – our positions during the 2018-2022 governance period in Zuidoost
ZUIDOOST: A UNIQUE PART OF AMSTERDAM
Amsterdam Zuidoost: some 90,000 people with roots from around the world, creating a culturally varied and unique neighbourhood. One in every three residents in Zuidoost is under 25 years’ old. We attract many visitors – students, business people and people seeking entertainment. In short, Zuidoost is a young, dynamic and diverse part of Amsterdam.
There are major changes afoot in Zuidoost, notably around the A9 motorway and by the ‘Amstel III’ area, with plans to build 20,000 new houses. D66 wants to shift the emphasis in this area, from businesses to housing, with all the amenities that residential neighbourhoods require. The areas on either side of the railway line should become more closely integrated, and the housing programme should provide for culture, shopping and sports facilities. The new Gaasperdammerpark should become a tourist destination with regional appeal, but in a socially and ecologically sustainable fashion, in order to make Zuidoost more attractive and help generate employment. D66 is in favour of promoting the hospitality (‘horeca’) sector in Zuidoost in general and believes public transport in the evenings and at night should be improved during weekends.
Major companies are established in Zuidoost, especially in the Arena area, and there is room for more businesses that could generate employment and work placements for young people. D66 wants to capture these opportunities so that local entrepreneurs, self-employed people, job seekers, those struggling to find a job due to personal circumstances, and young people in Zuidoost can benefit from these business activities. The local council could, for example, permit (pop-up) restaurants or food stalls in parks in order to encourage more people to start up a business. D66 will also continue to advocate initiatives to improve access to Zuidoost by public transport, building on the successful local effort to add Bijlmer Arena station to the Dutch Railways (‘NS’) night time Intercity rail network. Better public transport will help strengthen the Arena area as an entertainment destination. For major events, more parking space will be needed.
Zuidoost should become more attractive as a tourist destination, so that visitors will not just book a hotel in our part of town but will also spend time here and use local facilities. Existing business activity in Zuidoost could be facilitated to that end. We have a fairly large informal economy in Zuidoost. D66 wants to encourage informal businesses to become more formally established and viable for the long term. D66 also wants to support the self-employed by working with the owners of empty office and business real estate to create affordable work spaces for start-ups, self-employed people and civil society organisations.
In addition to capturing the opportunities that we see in Zuidoost, we also want to tackle key bottlenecks in our area. The street markets in Zuidoost are important for tourism and the retail sector, but they’re struggling. D66 wants to give them a boost. Other challenges that should be addressed include renovating public spaces in the village of Driemond, renovating the Kempering car park in order to give it a new lease of life as a proud piece of Bijlmer heritage, and improving the zoning and functional quality of living and working in Zuidoost, such as Maasdrielhof. And of course, more should be done to fight rats in Zuidoost, to improve hygiene and the overall quality of living.
Infrastructure is a key focus area for D66. Local residents should be able to travel to and from and across Zuidoost safely and without hassle. Driemond urgently needs a public transport link, notably in the evening. We are calling for better public transport between Zuidoost and Amsterdam city centre, providing acceptable travel times and reducing the number of cancellations. Changes to the public transport network should always improve the service provided to passengers. Specifically, D66 wants to explore whether Duivendrecht station could be added as a stop along the Gaasperplas metro line (No 53) in order to add travel options for passengers travelling to and from Bijlmer-Oost (E|G|K neighbourhoods). We also want to explore whether Tramway No 9, which currently terminates at De Sniep in Diemen, can be extended to the Verrijn Stuart metro station or Diemen Zuid (railway and metro) station.
GROWING UP IN ZUIDOOST
Children growing up in Zuidoost need safe roads, sports facilities, room to play outdoors, and quality education. Several accident-prone traffic junctions – so-called ‘black spots’ – have been successfully addressed over the past few years. But new ‘black spots’ are emerging, notable examples being the cross section of Wisseloord and the path leading to Eben Haëzer in Gein; Bijlmerdreef at Ganzenhoef station; Karspeldreef and the service roads at Kikkensteinstraat; and on market days the road sections between Ganzenpoort and the access roads to the market. These are all priority spots that must be tackled as part of the ongoing efforts in Zuidoost to improve road safety.
In education, there are several challenges in Zuidoost that must be addressed. Practical stumbling blocks stand in the way of providing quality education and training and attracting strong teachers, who are sometimes hesitant to accept a position here because of the general image Zuidoost still has in the country due to its past history. More should be done to break that vicious circle, for example by providing housing to teachers. D66 also wants to establish a Youth Council in Zuidoost, to encourage young people to become more closely involved in local policy-making, notably in education. D66 wants to explore whether we could launch engineering and innovation studies in Zuidoost, targeted at local youngsters who are keen on those kinds of skills and who have the talent to develop innovative solutions that meet the needs of today’s society. Local engineering and innovation training would help enhance the knowledge economy in Zuidoost.
D66 wants to make parks better suited to sports activities, and we want to spend more on improving access to sports. For the young, for example by providing sports and culture instruction to children from low-income families. But also for other age groups: for example, D66 is in favour of expanding the budget for the Sportbuurtwerk voor ouderen project to promote physical exercise among the elderly. As for the festivals in Gaasperpark and around the Gaasperplas pond, D66 feels that it is important to safeguard the character and purpose of Gaasperpark: nature and leisure in a broad sense of the word. D66 also wants to protect and retain the local character of the green area on the south side of the Gaasperplas pond: no building should be allowed there. The challenge is to strike a sustainable balance between green and tranquil on the one hand, and growth and dynamism on the other hand.
FREE, SAFE AND MERCIFUL TOWN
D66 feels that mutual engagement among local residents provides the basis for pleasant living in Zuidoost – free, safe and in solidarity with the community. Many local residents are long-term unemployed or do not have the income that would allow them to participate more fully in society. D66 feels that local government should interact more closely with them in order to help them improve their situation, for example by helping them acquire the skills they need to find employment. Also, D66 finds it unacceptable that there are waiting lists for debt relief assistance; eliminating these waiting lists should be a top priority here in Zuidoost.
Finally, functional digital illiteracy is a major problem in Zuidoost. It risks isolating people. D66 wants to increase public awareness about the availability of neighbourhood community centres where people can meet, and which could help tackle digital illiteracy.