January 15, 2014

SkyCycle: London's futuristic new bike highway? - @BicyclingMag

Fancy cycling along the London skyline? It could soon be an everyday occurrence, following the unveiling of the SkyCycle proposal, a revolutionary network of cycle decks throughout the capital.

The proposal comprises over 220 kilometers of traffic-free cycle routes following exisiting suburban rail lines, with each route capable of accommodating up to 12,000 riders per hour.

Designed by Foster + Partners, Exterior Architecture and Space Syntax, the innovative proposal could potentially relieve some of the stress expected to be placed on London's infrastructure, with 1.5 million cycle journeys estimated to take place per day in the city by 2020.

"The greatest barrier to segregating cars and cyclists is the physical constraint of London's streets, where space is already at a premium," said architect Norman Foster.

"SkyCycle is a lateral approach to finding space in a congested city. By using the corridors above the suburban railways, we could create a world-class network of safe, car free cycle routes that are ideally located for commuters."

Cycling has increased by 70 percent in London over the last decade, but safety is a huge concern and the number of cycling-related accidents in the city has risen by half since 2006 and the sport now accounts for almost 20 percent of deaths and serious injuries on the city's roads.

SkyCycle would function as a paid-for service by commuters and would require permission from Network Rail as the decks would operate largely on the company's land.

A spokesperson for Network Rail said: "We welcome the proposals which have been put forward by Foster + Partners and Exterior Architecture and are always happy to look at ways we can contribute to improving travel and transport in London.

"We will continue to liaise with all involved as the aspiration for this innovative scheme develops."

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