Sarah Goodyear is a Brooklyn-based contributing writer to CityLab. She's written about cities for a variety of publications, including Grist and Streetsblog.
Lofted bike lanes, automated parking, and more.
When we wrote our original post about brilliant bike infrastructure from around the world, we asked you to contribute your own ideas. You came through, big time. Here are some more examples of innovative cycling design from all corners of the globe (special thanks to commenter Edward Cramp, who contributed several of the ideas). Keep 'em coming.
Martin Olav Sabo Bridge, Minneapolis, United States
Part of the city’s enviable 5.5-mile Midtown Greenway system, this graceful cable-stayed bridge – which cost $5 million to build -- lofts people riding bicycles up over the Hiawatha light rail line as well as a busy road. As many as 6,000 people a day cross the bridge in the summer season.
In an interview with Streetfilms, Minnesota state senator S. Scott Dibble addressed the issue of cost:
There’s been some criticism about the amount of money we spend on these facilities, particularly when they’re off-road facilities and dedicated trails. But when you do the head count and you really do the cost/benefit analysis, and compare that to how much money we put into the transportation infrastructure for cars -- and you look at the benefit, in terms of transportation, in terms of connecting communities, in terms of livability, quality of life and just how it makes people feel about where they live -- it just can’t even be compared.
Automated underground bike parking, Tokyo, Japan
Everybody loves the ultra-nifty underground bike parking in Tokyo, which provides capacity to park 10,000 bikes in a stunningly space-efficient manner. If you haven’t seen it already, watch and marvel. The video below illustrates some of the engineering behind this ingenious solution.
Nescio Bridge, Amsterdam
The Netherlands is full of great bicycle bridges, as you might expect, but one of the most notable and lovely is the Nescio Bridge, which leads over the Amsterdam-Rhine Canal and is designed to give ample clearance to commercial boat traffic below. The bridge provides a connection to the city for residents of a suburb built on reclaimed land, and at about half a mile in total length, is the country’s longest dedicated bike and pedestrian bridge.
8 House, Copenhagen, Denmark
This building by celebrated Danish architects Bjarke Ingels Group (BIG) was designed as a "3D community" with an open-air shared use path. In other words, you can bike straight from your apartment on the upper levels to the street. The design is a measure of how thoroughly bicycles are integrated into Danish culture.
Insulindeplein, Eindhoven, Netherlands
This is an example of what is known in Dutch as a Berenkuil, or "bear pit." These are traffic circles with a lowered central area for bicycles, with ramps leading from surrounding bike paths and preventing conflict between cycles and cars. The Insulindeplein is notable because it is also a place where local graffiti artists are tacitly allowed to practice their art without risk of arrest.
Two Tunnels, Bath, United Kingdom
Courtesy of Flickr user Howard Stanbury
Commenter Adam Reynolds let us know about these repurposed rail tunnels, part of a longer 13-mile shared-use path. He says the two tunnels, the longer about a mile in length, are “absolutely jaw droppingly amazing…an exceptional piece of reclaimed industrial path.” To accommodate bats in the tunnels, the lights are rather low, so if you have the chance to explore this route, ride with consideration.
OV-fiets Bikeshare, Netherlands
One commenter on our original post, Rebecca_A, wanted to let us know about the seamless bikeshare/transit connections in the Netherlands:
Regarding Guangzhou’s bike share program, the entire county of the Netherlands has a bike share called OV-fiets. For 3.15 euros or $4.11 for 24 hours, a bicycle can be rented at almost all important train stations (180 stations). It is paid for with your transportation card, similar to the Charlie card that we have here in Boston. The card can only be purchased by people who have a Dutch bank account, or perhaps anyone who has a card issued with a chip unlike our American cards with a magnetic strip. The bike rental is seen as a continuation of your public transportation journey. The bikes are painted blue and yellow, the same colors as the trains. Electric OV-fiets and scooters are also available for 7.5 euros ($9.78) for 24 hours.
Kurishima-Kaikyo Bridge, Oshima-Shikoku, Japan
Image courtesy of GNU Free Documentation License/Wikimedia Commons
Commenter drsdre wrote, "We loved riding (hired) bikes in Japan, from Shikoku on the great Kurushima-Kaikyo suspension bridge over the Seto Inland Sea for Oshima island to eat seafood there." This three-part bridge is the longest suspension bridge in the world, and yes, it has a dedicated bicycle path, as well as bike rental stations along the way, as well as spectacular scenery. The grade is gradual and it’s a doable ride for kids as well as adults.