30 September 2008

Dots and Bikes and Bondam

Traffic Dots
One of the most talked about intiatives in Copenhagen is now underway. Nørrebrogade is a main street running through a densely populated neighbourhood and it has had problems thriving for many years. Many of the side streets are lovely, cosy shopping streets but the main drag is dreary.

It is the busiest bike stretch in the nation, with 30,000 cyclists each day. 10,000 cars a day make their way down the street towards the city centre, despite the fact that only about 35% of the locals own cars.

Vice-Mayor Klaus Bondam secured a majority at City Hall for a radical project. Closing off the street to cars. It was meant to be a permanent project but he had to compromise and make it a 'test' for a period of three months. Here's a previous post about, after it was announced. This is also the stretch that features the Green Wave - cycle 20 km/h and hit green lights all the way.

Anyway, the work has begun.
I got a text message the other day from a friend who uses the route. He said that overnight the bike lanes were doubled in width, with the new half occupying a former car lane, as seen above. He was thrilled. Often in the morning rush hour you'll wait for a red light to change with hundreds of other cyclists. This widened bike lane will improve the flow of bike traffic towards the city centre.

Traffic Dots2
The city has chosen funky street markings to alert everyone to the new system. The red dots pictured are funky and functional, letting people know that this is a bus stop zone. At the moment cars still drive down the street, until everything is set up, and I stood there watching the traffic. Cars slowed and let busses go first - always a bit of a rarity. It was petrol poetry in motion.

Traffic Test
Other markings are on the way and I'll post them as I see them show up. There are signs on the streets telling people about the new system. There will be the red dots, which denotes Busses. Then there are cool stripes that denote a FlexZone - where car lanes are reconquered in order to create space for cafés or restaurants to place outdoor tables or for shops to place displays of the goods they sell. All in order to create a dynamic shopping area and a liveable space for everyone.

Lastly there are Loading Zones on side streets for goods that are to be delivered to shops or homes. They feature the word Laes af/Laes paa - Load off/Load on, painted on the asphalt.

It's all very exciting. I'll post more as it happens.


Erik Sandblom said...

Definitely very exciting! The red dots, are they going to be hourglass bus stops?

Zakkaliciousness said...

i think they might...

burrito said...

That is so fabulous - can't wait to see the before and after pictures.

I'm very jealous. Our city has been trying to solve the terrible cycling conditions across one of our bridges for years and years - with a portion of people just wanting driving lanes reallocated to cycling (there are 2 other bridges and a land connection cars can use). Instead, Council has been pursuing a multi-million dollar design where new sidewalks are hung off the bridge. Except we don't have the money to actually do that, so in reality, nothing will be done.

I wish we had the guts to take road space away from cars.

San Smith said...

The red dots make the streets so fresh and visually stimulating - what a great idea! I hope it goes well and stays that way after the three months.

Stefan said...

WOW! I'm pretty excited that in the end someone has the xxxxs to try something like this. I know of some scientific research that points to the fact that reducing car travel in one street leads to some traffic completely vanishing (as in not showing up even on alternative routes). So lets watch what will happen in Copenhagen! Won't happen down here in Germany though, otherwise cyclists will be accused of the death of the car producing industry.

Dave said...

Excellent stuff, of which we're very jealous. On the pic of the recently widened bike lane, I notice the lack of segregation between cars and bikes - do cyclists worry that cars will intrude, especially in a newly converted space like this? (In Bristol, UK, car drivers would certainly do so.)

William Bendsen said...

Hi Dave.
I'd worry about cars intruding too, as i've seen that happen in many other cities, but the drivers in copenhagen are used to bikes and bikelanes, and although some people cross the line, they are an absolute minority.

(It's because of this that I'm worried about bicycle safety in cities where they're just starting to make bikelanes, because the drivers are unused to bikelanes, and the new painted bikelanes aren't clearly segregated, by being on another level (heightwise).