Superhighways to Awesomeville
Hey, here in the “A” we are doing something. The Beltline, Path400, Waterworks Park, Atlanta Streetcar, MARTA usage… the times are a changing. But we still have LOTS of work to do. As our representatives plan for the future of transportation funding, we have to keep our eye on the prize.
For those of you want a little extra motivation, you’re about to get it. In many ways, we are still way behind the rest of the world in building bike infrastructure. Do you want proof? Check out these amazing projects.
Maastunnel – Rotterdam, Netherlands
This city surrounded by water has a bike tunnel embedded in the river floor next to separate tunnels for cars and pedestrians to get from one side of the city to the other. Cyclists take an elevator some 60 feet below sea level to ride about a mile under the river to the other side. What’s even more impressive is that the tunnel secretly opened in 1942 during Nazi occupation. 70 years later and it’s still one of the most impressive pieces of dedicated bike infrastructure.
Bicycle superhighways – Copenhagen, Denmark
Wonder what $1.6M could buy? In Denmark they’re banking on 26 bicycle super highways covering 186 miles. This country faces a different set of problems than the US. They already have over 50% of their residents commuting, but they want more and longer bike commutes. They are literally paving the way for people to reach the city in a faster and more convenient way. Not because they’re more environmentally friendly or healthier, but because they see driving as a waste of time. So if we haven’t convinced you to get on a bike yet, maybe time will change your mind.
The Hovenring – Eindhoven, Netherlands
This floating bike roundabout is a cyclist’s dream. The ‘flying saucer’ measures 236 feet in diameter and is suspended from a 230 tall center poll by 24 cables. City council held a competition to develop an eye-catching design. Mission accomplished. If only all bike infrastructure looked this beautiful at night.
Sands Street cycle track – NYC
This piece of bike infrastructure is the sweet ending to a bad beginning. In 2005 the Director of NYC’s non-profit Transportation Alternatives was severely injured when he fell from his bike on Sands Street. Although he was wearing a helmet, he fractured his skull and lost memory of that day. He suspects he may have hit a pothole on what were then extremely dangerous conditions. Where’s the sweet ending? The rider fully recovered and the city created a two-way separate bike track that runs down the center of Sands Street. After only one year of being open cyclists using the bridge increased from 800 to 2600 daily. Can you imagine the commuting we could do if GA 400 was constructed with a protected two-way bike track down the center?
Rijksmuseum bike path – Amsterdam, Netherlands
Warning: this next bike infrastructure masterpiece will make you jealous. It’s literally a piece of art. As if Amsterdam didn’t have enough ways to entertain, the 19th century Rijksmuseum has a bike path underneath with glass walls allowing riders to see the museum. I don’t know that Amsterdam needs help getting their people on bikes since it’s the most bicycle-friendly capital city in the world with over 60% of trips made by bike, but bike paths under Neo-Gothic arches in the style of a catholic cathedral is one way to do it.