16 February 2010

Clear Passage

Bikes Not Cars
Winter's grip on Copenhagen is still firm. All the snow is formed into frozen ridges throughout the city. As we've been banging on about, the bike lanes are are a main priority and they are cleared first, long before the roads. The bike lane snowploughs zip dutifully back and forth.

I did, however, read that the counties in Denmark are overbudget regarding snow clearing. The annual budget for all the counties is 1 billion kroner [ca. $185 million] and that number is already doubled this year.

The main thoroughfares in Copenhagen are cleared to accomdate the daily armada of bicycles but on the more minor roads without separated bike infrastructure, the snowploughs ain't been visiting. The roads are divided up into A roads and B roads and the focus is on the A roads with all this snowfall.

But I've forgotten about the photo up top. This is near the city centre on a relatively main street. The bike lane is cleared but all the snow from the bike lane and the street has been ploughed into a ridge to the left of the bike lane.

Normally, this is car parking. You can see what the minivan has to do to park, sticking halfway out into traffic. Farther along, outside a hotel entrance, cars are precariously parked on packed snow.

Meanwhile, the bicycles roll on.


portlandize.com said...

Last year, when it actually snowed a couple of feet in Portland, they plowed the snow off the car traffic lanes right into the bike lanes and onto the sidewalks, both of which then became 3-foot tall piles of uneven ice, buses had to pull over into those piles to stop and pick up passengers, got stuck, and then the city says "don't drive if you don't have to!"

Green Idea Factory said...

This is most certainly a "I wish that Copenhagen was an independent city-state and as a prize for being on the winning side in the War was given responsibility for the Cycling Sektor in Berlin" moments.

In my neighborhood here in the German capital, they do a half-assed job on the paths on the main streets, so that they spend money but still create unusable conditions. Some experienced cyclists ride in the car/faster part of the street (it is allowed) but bike modal share seems to be way lower than normal for this time of year.

Lila said...

It's my first winter in Copenhagen and first winter in Denmark with this much snow. So, it's great to see how much priority they give the bike lanes, especially as biking is my only means of transportation. But what I realized today was that I had forgotten how big the bike lanes actually are without the snow piles on the side. They literally double in size! I can't wait until all the snow melts, biking will be so roomy and spacious.

Aaron said...

Biking to work is not only a great way to get exercise, but it also is a fantastic green alternative to being stuck in traffic on the way home. I just saw this article about cities in Portugal where they have started writing poetry on the bike paths. What a great idea to make biking more of a cultural experience as well.

Lasse said...

At the moment there has been so much snow that our road service is almost out of salt for the roads (to keep them from icing over).
It is worth noting that the guy in charge of clearing and salting the roads i Copenhagen said on tv: that what little salt they have left they are saving for the bicyclelanes