As I remember back to the last time I was in Copenhagen, for our Travel – Study Studio Tour in September 2012, one of the most significant lessons learned was the importance of material and grade change to delineate space. The value of that lesson is coming back the more I observe and travel around the city.
One of the elements of bicycle infrastructure that Copenhagen is best known for is the cycle track. This is a grade separated bicycle only travel lane that lies between the sidewalk space and the road space.
This concept is translatable to a variety of purposes and functions within bicycle infrastructure and beyond. Here is an example of an off street shared use bicycle path running thought a college campus. Note both the raised grade of the bicycle space, and the material change on either side. Establishing these spaces reduces conflicts between pedestrians and bicycles.
Beyond the function of these concepts, they also have a beautiful aesthetic quality as well. Perhaps we need to rediscover the cobblestone in the US? At the same time, I have seen the grade and material change accomplished without cobblestones. I’ll share some images of that in a future post. You can help me decide which ones work better and are more beautiful.
After posting this I discovered an awesome new product that can help cities envision how a raised cycle track would look, and more importantly feel. Copenhagenize.com is a celebration and repository of bicycle urbanism created by bicycle evangelist Mikael Colville-Andersen. He started the Copenhagenize Design Co. which has come up with a new temporary raised cycle track that cities can install on a trial basis.