Cycle tracks in the sky will abound in Copenhagen

Copenhagen Gateway
© Steven Holl

UPDATE 2: The whole project has been abandoned.

UPDATE: We are informed by Steven Holl Architects that there has been a change:

I’d like to clarify your inquiries concerning cyclists using the new bridge. Though it was initially requested by the city that bridge be for cyclist use, as the design now moves forward it is no longer to be used for cyclists and alternative solutions are being pursued.

So you can pretty much ignore everything that follows:

In 1905 H. G. Wells predicted that "Cycle tracks will abound in Utopia". But I doubt even he could imagine what is happening in the cycling utopia of Copenhagen. The latest bike bridge (here are some others) proposed is this one designed by architect Steven Holl back in 2008, stalled by the Great Recession, and now going ahead. It's 65 meters (213 feet) in the air; you get to it via two giant bike-friendly elevators. The LM Gateway is described by Holl:

sketch© Steven Holl

The design for the dramatic new harbor entrance to the great city of Copenhagen is based on a concept of two towers carrying two bridges at two orientations all connecting back to the unique aspects of the site’s history. The Langelinie site, a berth for ocean ships for decades, is expressed in the Langelinie tower with geometry taken from the site’s shape. A prow-like public deck thrusts out to the sea horizon....Each tower carries its own cable-stay bridge that is a public passageway between the two piers. Due to the site geometry, these bridges meet at an angle, joining like a handshake over the harbor.

On Copenhagenize, Mikael explains how this is a response to planning rules in Copenhagen:

At first glance one might think either "why bother" or "goofy gimmick", but the elevated cycle track and walkway wasn't an architect's whim. It was actually in the City of Copenhagen's tender material when the project was launched. A tower on each side connected by a bridge at least 65 m in the air.

marmorbyen mapCopenhagenize/via

The reason is logistics and city policy. There has to be maximum of 500 metres from any home in Copenhagen to public transport, be it a bus stop, train station or metro station. If you look at the map, above, you can see that the tower on the right, at the end of Langelinie pier, would be much farther away from Nordhavn train station and the coming metro station, at left. If you had to walk or ride a bike all the way around. Therefore, with the elevated facility, people in the tower on the right will be within 500 metres of the stations and bus stops.

bridge meeting© Steven Holl

I think that's pretty remarkable, that a city policy would be taken so literally, no matter what the expense. Even Mikael thinks " it's a bit wild", and not very practical.

aerial view© Steven Holl

However, no other city in the world has shown such a commitment to building better bike infrastructure, for treating the bicycle as a serious part of the transportation infrastructure and putting the pedestrian on a pedestal. It may not be practical but it is great marketing.

night shot© Steven Holl

Tags: Bike-Friendly World | Biking | Copenhagen

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