Norman Foster’s SkyCycle: A Bikes Paradise?

Norman Foster's SkyCycle

In January 2014, Arquitect Norman Foster unveiled his design of an elevated bike path named SkyCycle. The purpose is to take advantage of the structure of railway lines to construct car-free lanes for cyclists.

At a first glance, the images of this bikes highway seem rather Utopian. The futuristic renders reminds us of 20th century movies where flying cars glided through the air between strangely-shaped buildings. But Norman Foster’s project is far from science-fiction. The project has the backing of the Network Rail and Transport for London. The paths would be suspended over 220km of suburban rail network, allowing commuters to save up to 29’ per journey.

“SkyCycle is a lateral approach to finding space in a congested city,” said Arquitect norman Foster.  “By using the corridors above the suburban railways, we could create a world-class network of safe, car-free cycle routes that are ideally located for commuters.” According to the designers, construction of elevated decks would be considerably cheaper than building new roads and tunnels. A series of pylons would be installed above the railway, from which a deck would project out.

The access to the elevated path seems to be a major practical drawback. The proposal is to install vertical hydraulic platforms next to the railway stations and ramps. There would be around 200 access points. One could wonder if having to wait for the next exit to get off the path would be seen as a major constraint for the users.

Sources:

www.theguardian.com/artanddesign/architecture-design-blog/2014/jan/02/norman-foster-skycycle-elevated-bike-routes-london
www.dezeen.com/2014/01/02/foster-promotes-cycling-utopia-above-londons-railways/
www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-london-25549789

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