Why your city doesn't need an elevated bicycle highway
— By Tyler Falk on January 15, 2014, 10:00 AM PST
I wonder, was there ever a thought in a head of bike's inventor that someday it would be necessary to invent the road for it?
I don’t see why bicycle highways cannot ride on top of some kind of special built buildings. Don’t need to look for another spare space inside the city. If it is in the air, go over things! The layout over the city could be chosen with many different formats using appropriated developed structures and columns as structural parts of buildings which would be the connecting points to support the bike’s highways. Some buildings could also have the bike’s highway ridding thru over hangers shelves on the sides of it. The parking spaces, garages, business, ramps, all would be part of those buildings structures. Just my token!
The advantage of an elevated route above Railtracks, is that the Real Estate to build it on is essentially 'Free', whereas it is hideously expensive and hard to obtain without major disruption at ground level. But then again, the engineering technology required to build the elevated routes would be much more expensive than the simple concrete and tarmac of a conventional, ground-level route. That said, I think some version of this would be a very good idea, as it would be very flat like a railway track, and so easy to cycle, and it would directly link existing populations, because those populations are already situated along the track. You can get very high densities of people travelling on bikes, which in turn would make a major contribution to relieving congestion and overcrowding on both Trains and the roads, so it has got to be worth a look. I think Boris must have had a telling off from his mate the PM, to criticise it like that, - it's an Engineering project, - in London, - what planet was he on if he ever thought it was going to be cheap !
Great to see a counter point post.
Some times one persons great idea is just not practical for the majority of society.
My first reactions to the idea were:
A. To expensive to build and maintain
B. What an eyesore.
Considering that London's railways are mostly electrified, a bicycle highway (and maybe pedestrian throughway) could easily ride on top of the existing catenary support infrastructure with relatively minor cost. Since some of London's rain infrastructure is over 100 years old, the construction could be used to improve and secure the catenary system while also making it easier to maintain--thus reducing operating costs for the railroad.
The drawback really is the access to the elevated paths. The concept art shows a ramp system which is pretty, but not really the most efficient or safe. An elevator system would be safer, but less efficient and would generate backups at the lift. An escalator (moving stairs) would be almost ideal as the rider could walk his bike onto a platform that then rises to the bikeway. Even if the escalator is out of order, it could be used as a relatively shallow stairway to still walk the bikes up and down without stopping to wait for repairs.
Yes, I do understand the merchanters' complaints about traffic bypassing them, but speed, safety and congestion are all addressed. After all, if these ramps are built at or near train stops, then local merchants can see more business, not less, as bikers will have to pass them on their way to their ultimate destination.
Obviously it is much cheaper to build elevated bicycle freeways than elevated automobile freeways. Plus automobiles overhead are really noisy while bicycle traffic over head will be pretty quiet.
It is pretty unpleasant to share office space with bicycle commuters, as Agent Smith said in The Matrix "It's the smell".
Perhaps our governments need to require employers and retailers to provide showers for bicycle commuters.
For this sort of money, you might as well build a monorail, like the Skytrain in Bangkok, or another underground line or update the underground at an accelerated rate.
@Vulpinemac Good point on the escalator idea. The IKEA near me has an escalator built to take entire shopping carts that would be perfect for bicycles.
"cheaper to build" .... makes you wonder why the pilot 6km section is estimated to cost a whopping £GBP200m - A small fly in the ointment SP keep omitting from the context of this story.
I hope SP have not taken to the (Apple Fanbois/Fanbois hunter) practice of sister site ZDNet, to do advocacy stories one week, and then a week or two later do a detraction story on the same subject and why it's a bad idea, as it gives an inconsistent 'Editorial' on things. Make you wish the original story had perhaps been more balanced, and probably bit better researched in the first place.
@Kevin D. Jackson Most cyclists are quite fit and don't even work up a sweat riding a bike. It's usually the overweight that have the smell problem with all the body and skin folds and are so out of shape they sweat just sitting there.
@neil.postlethwaite We have seven writers on the Bulletin and all bring their own expertise and opinions to the stories they write. Our aim here is to brief readers on innovative new ideas, technology, and design, and to promote thoughtful discussion of them--not to hew to any party line.
@neil.postlethwaite @Kevin D. Jackson Have you any idea of why that 6km stretch might be so expensive? Maybe they'll be doing as I suggest and replacing railroad catenary supports with new ones strong enough to support not only the wires but the bikeway as well. The cost as such would be split by the railway and the city making overall costs lower. Just look at how much local traffic on both rail and streets will be affected DURING construction and tell us how to make it cheaper.
I guess I'm glad things have changed, for the better, esp. on the comments.
Ideology from either end of the spectrum is generally not helpful in any reasoned debate on quality evidence, sound methodology and conclusion v's observation and opinion.
@neil.postlethwaite @alywindsor Believe it or not, in this regard SmartPlanet isn't quite as bad as it used to be, 2-or-so years ago when it was almost exclusively a progressive propaganda blog which did little other than promote "global warming" and sing praises to the virtues of absolutely anything promoted as green and ObamaCare. (I miss Dana Blankenhorn; I see they finally pulled his posts, which are pretty embarrassing considering today's reality) The "perfect" SmartPlanet story all to often included someone promoting a "solution" that to be successful only required a massive taxpayer subsidy, a mandate that people buy it, the forceful elimination of any competition, and a willing suspension of belief in the laws of economics and/or physics. All too often, even posting a reasoned response to the insanity would get you censored.
That's fine, but you need to take a (editorial?) line on things....
Otherwise it's a fairly vacuous tennis match of "Pro-expert's say" v's "Anti-expert's say" and you get competing conclusions, but no real discussion of method, analysis, how you did/do stuff context and - in this case - the huuuuge cost (which seems to have made Boris Johnson turn tail on his initial being all giddy over it).
May I remind you of your metatag "What Smart Planet stands for"...Advice, analysis, discussion
"SmartPlanet - destination for savvy advice, thought-provoking analysis and expert discussion on the intersection of technology, business and life."
After all, little of this is in any real forum of Conservative v's Liberal v's socialist ideologies, regardless of the country of the consumer of the site. US, Canada, UK, France, China, Japan, New Zealand etc... I think the general person attracted to the site's aspirations are of the orientation that support Environmental protection, want better cleaner easier to live in cities, want more diverse energy production and security, want more wholesome and sustainable food sourcing, believe Global Warming has some man-made constituent, want more sustainable travel, perhaps are concerned that the planet v's a predicted 9 billion population has sustainability issues, etc....
. Little call for the tea-party here.
They might well be, but at £GBP200m for the pilot 6km stretch, that's £GBP33K/$USD54K per metre, it's insanely expensive. Charlie O's cited original article, mentions the ultimate plans would be for 220km of this around/over London. If the maths don't change from this cost rate, that would extrapolate to be a bonkers £GBP7.3bn/$USD11.7bn.
They are reckoning on building a High Speed rail line from London to Birmingham (100 miles or so) for a wee bit over double this - to put the cost in context and perspective.