To making bicycling through the city safer, Melbourne, Australia, is planning to build an elevated bicycle highway, which they are calling the Veloway, reports Nick Lavars for Gizmag. It would run 1.1 mile over city traffic and provide a “vital transport link” across the city, he adds.
Melbourne’s Veloway structure would be made of lightweight yet high-strength composite plastic and is expected to cost about AU$25 million, which is the equivalent of $23 million in the U.S., Lavars writes. The Veloway would be “clipped on” to an existing rail viaduct for most of its route, writes John Masanauskas for the Herald Sun. The design would keep bicyclists separate from the cars, trams, and pedestrians on street level below, Lavars writes, and would have solar-powered lighting and wind deflectors.
Masanauskas quotes Pacific Strategies director Mike Potter, who is part of the consortium behind the Veloway:
‘The current thinking which seems to begin and end with bike lanes and painting lines on roads is demonstrably not good enough. As a congested city we have to make life easier for motorists, taxis, delivery drivers and cyclists.’
Committee for Melbourne CEO Kate Roffey told Masanauskas, “This would help from both an efficiency and safety perspective.” The consortium seeks AU$480,000 from the Melbourne City Council and the state government so it can conduct a feasibility study, Masanauskas writes.
As the Pedestrian and Bicycle Information Center reports, in the U.S. in 2012, 726 people were killed in bicycle accidents involving motor vehicles. In Colorado, 13 people were killed in bicycle accidents the same year, according to Traffic Safety Facts 2012 Data, a publication of the U.S. National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.
Commenting on the Herald Sun article, a person using the name Logic writes, “Do it. Separate cyclists from cars, and the savings will be seen in the health system.”
And someone named Mel Tisdale, commenting on the GizMag piece, writes that certain commuters have to be “smartly dressed” for their jobs, “especially shop workers.” He suggests that such elevated roadways will need to protect bicyclists from the elements with some type of cover, and that rental bikes would need to have chains that “do not chew trouser legs or smother them with oil.”
In proposing this traffic safety design solution, Melbourne joins the world cities of London, Toronto, and Auckland, which have similar proposals for elevated bike paths, Lavars writes. In Copenhagen last month, a cycle bridge opened called Cykelslangen, which means “The Bicycle Snake,” according to DAC&Life. Made of steel, the bridge is 4 meters wide with a 190-meter span and a 30-meter ramp. Copenhagen seeks to become the best cycling city in the world by the end of 2015, aiming for at least half of all trips to work and school to be made by bicycle, DAC&Life reports. (DAC stands for Danish Architectural Center.)
Here is a video about the proposed Veloway:
Image by Karen Mardahl