london-cycling

London Cycling Plan

It’s being dubbed ‘SkyCycle’ and has the potential to revolutionize city planning into the first half of this century.

Foster + Partners renowned architect Lord Norman Foster has proposed an “El” train of sorts (for our Chicago readers) for London. 136 miles of elevated cycling paths that would further eliminate the need for cars and pedestrians. Here are some more facts, via The Verge.

SkyCycle would consist of a number of routes, most of which would connect with other lines at points. Each route would be able to accommodate 12,000 cyclists per hour. The network as a whole would serve almost six million people, half of whom live and work within 10 minutes of one of its 200 entrances. As the majority of London’s rail network was created in the steam era, the tracks follow the path of least resistance, avoiding steep gradients and making them ideal routes for cycling.

Cited benefits of the plan, aside from reducing cycle collisions with cars, include raising historically low values of properties situated by the railways, the possibility of on-network “cycling high streets” with shops and cafés, and the “integration of automated goods delivery networks.”

The Verge also notes that due to the scale of the proposals that there is no timeframe for completion if it even gets approved, and if it does do that, it’s more of a decade process than yearly process.

That time frame may be scary but it does pose an interesting question for urban designers: the idea of elevated cycleways in general and if the benefits would outweigh the costs. I think it’s possible, but off the cuff, I can’t see this working in a cold-weather city like Chicago and from what I understand in London, it always rains. Is that the best city for a proposal of this scale?

Either way, I’m intrigued by the idea and overall, the long-term benefits. If there are any updates (between now and the next 10 years), we’ll keep you posted in our all-new Design section!

The 'SkyCycle' Network (Proposal)

The ‘SkyCycle’ Network (Proposal)