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Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Bicycle Lanes for Multitudes | NYT

Ursula Bach/City of Copenhagen
An angled trash can on a stretch of the Copenhagen Cycle Super Highway is for those in a hurry.
COPENHAGEN — It sounds so promising. A network of dedicated cycle routes running through a city with air pumps to fix flat tires, footrests to lean on while taking breaks and trash cans that are specially angled so you can throw in empty water bottles without stopping.

Best of all, you can cycle on those routes for long distances without having to make way for cars and trucks at junctions and traffic lights, according to the official description of the Cycle Super Highways, which are under construction here as part of the Danish capital’s efforts to become carbon-neutral by 2025.
Are they as good as they sound? These days it is hard to find a big city that doesn’t make grandiose claims to encourage cycling, and harder still to find one that fulfills them. Redesigning congested traffic systems to add bike lanes to overcrowded roads is fiendishly difficult, especially in historic cities with narrow cobbled streets like Copenhagen. But as its cycling program sounds so ambitious, I went there to try it.


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