29 November 2012

Harbour Tunnel or a Better City?

Fellini's 8 1/2 was a comedy. Kind of like Copenhagen City Hall at the moment.

Yep, it's the early 1950s at Copenhagen City Hall. Tonight, politicians voted yes to a harbour tunnel that will cost our city a whopping 27 BILLION kroner. ($4.5 billion)

Despite the fact that the only damned thing we know from a century of traffic engineering is that when you create more space for cars, more cars appear.

See a vision of City Hall's tunnel here.

Lars Barfred, who writes here on the site, has done some rational calculations. For about the same price as a ridiculous harbour tunnel, we could have things we ACTUALLY NEED.

Lars has calculated that we could have - instead:

2.5 billion: 250 km of high-class bicycle infrastructure along all S-Train lines, the east coast route and the Helsingør motorway all the way to Trørød

1 billion: 330 km of bicycle superhighways

13 billion: Converting the A-bus network to 65 km of tramways

3 billion: Fully automated S-Train system with trains every 5 minutes on all the lines with stops at all stations.

3 billion: Extra train tunnel between Central Station and Østerport (automated trains require more capacity)

0,25 billion: Train line from Dragør – Kastrup

0,25 billion: New trains on the East Coast route, re-branded as S-Train system

1 billion: New green spaces in the city and parks

3 billion: New sports facilities and activity spaces

What city would you rather live in? One that builds last-century Soviet style tunnels or one that provides you with the list, above? Or rather... which politicians would you vote for here in 2012? Tunnel rats or visionaries?

Welcome to the New Copenhagen.


Miles Bader said...


I hope there's some political fallout from this.... what is public support for this project like?

I suppose that bad, expensive, projects go forward because they're:

(1) genuinely popular, due to large-scale delusion and cluelessness (end result: shock, but it's too late)

(2) falsely popular, due to massive marketing (i.e., lying) by those who will benefit (end result: anger, but it's too late)

(3) kept as hidden as possible, and pushed through in the shadows by the power-brokers (end result: shock, anger, but it's too late)

Dmitri F said...

They really approved it?
If Copenhagen falls, what's next?

Erik Sandblom said...

Actually the Soviets were very progressive in the field of city transportation. They built elaborate metros with chandeliers. And they didn't rip out the tramway network, like they did in much of the west. Even the buses were cleaner and quieter than in the west, because they run on electricity (trolley buses).

Schack said...

I cant believe they're actually going through with this.
'Out of sight out of mind' - what a bullshitty way to go around urban planning.
What must annoy me the most is how they advertise it as being a good thing for cyclists and pedestrians.

Words of a disappointed Dane, who is starting to become happy she moved away...

Dmitri F said...

At least it's a car tunnel.
In Stockholm they are tearing up the town building a new commuter rail station, and one of the features of the station is a large network of underground tunnels...for pedestrians and shopping malls, with the specific goal of allowing more cars to pass.

Note, that this is on Odenplan, one of Stockholm's "meeting places", but instead of moving the cars under ground with the trains, they move the pedestrians (and shoppers) underground. This pisses me off indeed.

Erik Sandblom said...

Dmitri, it's not practical to have 160 km/h commuter trains mixing with pedestrians or cars, or anything but other trains. It's either a tunnel or a whole new surface railway slicing through town (or more car traffic in a growing city).

Dmitri F said...

Its not the train tunnel that I was talking about, that is a given. But the fact that rather than moving the roadway underground (2 lanes in each direction), they decided to build an underground shopping complex, to avoid mixing pedestrians and cars.

This is an medium size inner city street already, there is lots of shopping up on ground level and a huge square for people to hang and meet. It would make more sense to simply remove the roads (and move them underground) and make more space for pedestrians (and shopping), instead of creating a bunch of underground passageways in addition to the already existing infrastructure up top.

Moving pedestrians under ground in lieu of cars, in the city center, just seems wrong to me.

James Schwartz said...

Is the phrase "Copenhagenize the planet" starting to take on a new meaning? I hope not!