Could this be the future of transport in London? It will be if Lord Foster has something to say about it. The image above has generated excitement among cyclists and urban planners but will it get the go ahead from London’s mayor?
The architectural team led by Fosters & Partners has unveiled detailed plans for these free-access cycle highways above existing rail lines throughout London.
The proposed SkyCycle network would follow existing suburban rail services and provide over 220 kilometres of cycle routes which could be accessed at over 200 entrance points. Fosters says each of the routes would accommodate up to 12,000 cyclists per hour.
Designed by London-based Exterior Architecture, a firm normally involved in civic landscape architecture and design, and supported by Fosters & Partners and Space Syntax, the futuristic cycle highway would certainly fit into London’s plans of bolstering cycling as a serious means of transport in the city.
Sam Martin of Exterior Architecture says:
“SkyCycle is an urban cycling solution for London. A cycling utopia, with no buses, no cars and no stress.”
CEO and lead architect of Fosters & Partner, as well as an avid cyclist, Lord Foster said:
“To improve the quality of life for all in London and to encourage a new generation of cyclists, we have to make it safe. However, the greatest barrier to segregating cars and cyclists is the physical constraint of London’s streets, where space is already at a premium. SkyCycle is a lateral approach to finding space in a congested city.”
Over the last decade in London, cycling has grown by 70 percent – on major roads the number of cyclists has increased by 173 percent. However, according to Fosters & Partners this still only translates as 2 percent of all journeys and falls short of many other UK and European cities.
Skycycle will be attractive concept for many in a city where not only has the number of cyclists been growing, but so has the number of cyclists dying on London’s roads (14 cyclists died on London’s roads in 2012), a deterrent for many would-be cyclists who otherwise depend on private vehicles or increasingly crowded, and expensive, public transport. Inadequate cycling lanes is something that has only recently been addressed by the city, but the main reason behind the deaths is the dangerous proximity to large lorries and buses (and their blind spots) that cyclists must contend with.
No word however on what happens when a collision or accident occurs on one of these elevated cycling highways, something inevitable in the long run. Is there a “sky-ambulance” that comes to the rescue?