Which Scandinavian City is Considered “Biking Heaven?”
The Danes refer to their beloved capitol city of Copenhagen, Denmark as “Biking Heaven.” This cosmopolitan Scandinavian city with an area of 200 square miles (500 sq. km) was built with bike enthusiasts in mind offering cyclists more than 240 miles (390km) of bike-bahns. Copenhagen is brimming with new architecture, cafes and restaurants amid the stunning colorful centuries old landscape.
New York based Metropolis magazine voted Copenhagen the ‘World’s most livable city” in its 2016 annual rankings which focused on housing, transportation, sustainability and culture while also considering cost of rent and commuting into the equation.
The former head of Copenhagen’s City Council of Technical and Environmental Administration Ayfer Baykal said, “There are enormous gains to be had if we can get people to cycle in and out of the city. Collaborating with our neighboring municipalities to build the bike-bahns is the best thing we’ve done for cyclists since we started building cycle lanes 100 years ago.”
Twenty-three municipalities in the Greater Copenhagen area worked together to build the new network of bicycle routes. Input from cyclists was invaluable in optimizing feasibility of use. Officials learned that signage and traffic lights along the bike route had to be properly timed to average cycling speeds to limit frequent stops along the cyclist’s commute. Copenhagen is proof that with safe unencumbered bike lanes more inhabitants willingly take to cycling.
In June 2014 came the opening of the Cykelslangen, – “The Bicycle Snake” – DISSING+WEITLING architecture, a picturesque bridge some 755.6 ft. (230 meters) in length, saving thousands of cyclists daily from having to carry their bikes up and down stairs near the Fisketorvet shopping mall. The Cykelslangen bridge, a masterpiece of architecture from every angle is yet another key in the plan to insure cyclists will happily choose to ride their bikes.
It is often said but not always the case, “build it, they will come.” Planning and hard work are important in creating success. Copenhagen’s planning and hard work have met with the success they sought, however according to Morten Kabell, current head of the city Municipality’s Technology and Environment Department, “More accessibility is needed for the increasing number of cyclists that unfortunately are fighting for space on cycle lanes.”
With nearly 266,000 bicycles and 253,000 cars now traveling in and out of the city daily, cyclists are the ones with the congestion problem. The solution? Initially five electronic monitors installed at strategic locations advising cyclists of less traveled routes through town.
The goal for continued success will be to keep cyclists commute a pleasant one in order to not just sustain but increase their numbers which will continue to reduce pollution causing traffic while improving the overall health and quality of life for the inhabitants of Greater Copenhagen.
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