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Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Would You Ride a Bike Superhighway? | Mashable


As people become more concerned with conserving the environment and improving our health, bicycle superhighways seem to be the ideal panacea. Encouraging commuters to bike to work instead of drive in a car promotes personal well-being, a greener world and it can even encourage fresh thinking in the workplace.
Below, we outline three cities whose transit innovations are headed in the right direction, promoting healthier transportation options for both the planet and ourselves. Would you commute on a bicycle superhighway if you had one in your city? Let us know in the comments.
Copenhagen, Denmark.
Image: MyLoupe/Universal Images Group via Gettty Images
Copenhagen's Cykelsuperstier is the perfect example of a successfully implemented bike superhighway. Aiming to connect residential areas outside of Copenhagen with educational facilities and job-laden areas, the local governments teamed up to build an expansive system of 26 new bike routes.
The first route opened in April 2012 and connects Copenhagen and Albertslund, a suburb about 10 miles outside of the city. Although more than 80% of Danes have bicycles, cycling habits in Denmark has actually decreased over the last 20 years. However, the cycling within Copenhagen's boundaries has increased — 36% of all trips to places of work or study are taken by bicycle. The goal is to have 20% more riders on the Albertslund route by 2015. If this is achieved, then motorized vehicles in the country would be driving one million kilometers less each year.
In order to entice riders, the developers of the bike superhighway designed a number of strategies to make commuting as easy as possible. Using what they term "green wavetechnology," a cyclist traveling at an average speed of 20km/h should be able to glide through a wave of green lights throughout the city during rush hour, without ever having to stop. That's right, the traffic lights are timed to suit bicyclists, not cars. Furthermore, the city provides footrests to lean on at traffic lights in case you do happen to get stopped, there are tilted garbage cans along the path for easy access to riders, and "conversation lanes" are being developed where two people can ride side by side and talk as they commute to work together.
The Cykelsuperstier is being financed by the Capital Region of Denmark, as well as the 21 local governments that will be connected by the superhighway. The 26 routes are budgeted to cost 413 million Danish kroner (approximately $73.35 million USD) for the basic plan, or 875 million kroner ($155.4 million USD) for the ideal plan. It will cost an average of about $1 million per mile.
The next route to be built will connect Copenhagen with Fureso, a town northwest of the capital, and the developers are experimenting with solar-powered lighting.

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