Those of us who try to ride bikes in the winter often wonder why cars get their own big right-of-way, transit riders get expensive underground subways, pedestrians get an elaborate network of underground walkways, and we, if lucky, get a white line on pavement marking a so-called bike lane filled with snow or cars.
Toronto Architect Chris Hardwicke wants to do something about it. He proposes "a high speed, all season, pollution free, ultra-quite transit system that makes people healthier. Using an infrastructure of elevated cycle tracks, velo-city creates a network across the City. "
"The elevated bikeways are enclosed in tubes to provide protection for all season cycling. The bikeway tubes are separated by direction of travel to create a dynamic air circulation loop the crates a natural tail-wind for cyclists. The reduction in air resistance increased the efficiency of cycling by about 90% allowing for speeds up to 40 Km/hr. Velo-City promotes exercise as an urban lifestyle."
Chris proposes a network of tubes that act as express lanes- this does not separate cyclists from the City but act like the subways do- moving people efficiently to hubs where they re-enter the City streets. (see map here) Because of the safety and the weather protection, people afraid of city cycling might do it instead of driving. Because of the increase in efficiency, people not quite as fit as the usual urban cyclist might give it a try.
330,000 people ride their bikes in Toronto. Imagine how many more would if such an infrastructure existed- safe, weather protected travel, being drafted along on top of the City. It is Utopia. ::Velo-City (site under construction)