First Chris Hardwicke proposed VeloCity for Toronto; then Sam Martin proposed Skycyle for London. Now Chris points to another another bicycle superhighway in the sky, the Veloway, in Melbourne, Australia.
It is cleverly hung off the side of an existing elevated, separated rail corridor. Estimated to cost A$ 20 million, Grant O'Donnell of Melbourne Lifeform Development claims it would take a lot of load off the trains. He is quoted in Bicycle Network Victoria:
We believe this proposal will propel Melbourne forward as a leader in providing technically advanced but practical bike infrastructure. It will provide net state benefits through improved cycle safety, reduced CBD congestion, an easing of pressure on the public transport system as well as being an appealing amenity for tourists and ride to work commuters
Alan Davies in Crikey is not impressed.
While I don’t expect one or two smallish glamour projects would be a problem, any demand for a wider network of veloways, or similar, could be problematic. If it were to promote the idea that ‘freeways’ are necessary in order for cycling to be taken seriously as a form of transport, then it would be a backward step. Cycling will only be viable in the foreseeable future if it creates a dense network of safe cycle routes. The only way that could realistically be achieved is by converting road space to cycling.
This argument was raised in London; I disagreed with it there and will here. Every experience with highways for cars in every country in the world has demonstrated that building them doesn't take cars off the road, it adds more of them. If you build infrastructure like this it moves more bikes more conveniently, and more use it. They then get off and have an even greater need for a local infrastructure of safe bicycle routes.
I’m not even sure the idea of freeways, if interpreted too literally, translates that sensibly to cycling. Freeways are a separate system that enables trucks, buses and cars to cover long distances at high speed by limiting access and eliminating intersections. Cyclists don’t cover such long distances and easy, direct access to main routes is extraordinarily important – limiting access would have a significant negative effect.
I disagree. if you want people to commute by bike instead of car, perhaps they should have a hierarchy of routes, from local slow complete street to faster dedicated lane to bike superhighway where they can move at high speed and not have to stop at every traffic light and stop sign. I think bike highways make perfect sense. We need more of them.
What do you think?