22 March 2013

Gothersgade and the Two-Way Cycle Track

One way streets. Where do bicycles fit into this ever-present downtown street model? A common question, and [from a car culture kinda perspective] understandably so. The City of Copenhagen answers that question, punctuated with an exclamation point - making Gothersgade a prime example of how to plan for cyclists and pedestrians in one-way situations.

A main street in the historic city centre, Gothersgade runs past Rosenborg Castle and the Kings Gardens at a hasty 50 km/h. One segment of it, leading away from Nyhavn and toward the Kings Gardens, is a three-lane one-way stretch of traffic lined by boutiques, bodegas, and cafes.
gothersgade st. 15
Google Maps view looking east on Gothersgade.
The one-way segment, up until the redesign, had a skinny mini sidewalk and three lanes for automobiles which fluctuate between parking and driving lanes.

Enter the road diet. Now we've got one lane for traffic, widened sidewalks, and cycle tracks going in on both sides.

One-way streets across town are slowly transforming into two way streets for cyclists (in addition to maintaining one lane for automobiles). Whether it's with a painted bicycle lane, or a separated cycle track (depending on road speed and traffic volume), the desire lines of cyclists are being made both the fastest and safest routes. Previously, in The Arrogance of Space, we saw how only slightly narrowing lanes allows plenty of room for proper bicycle infrastructure.
gothersgade
The [almost] finished cycle tracks of Gothersgade.
The cycle tracks of Gothersgade are still under construction and, it being my 'hood, I take lots of pride in observing their progress, and the reactions of citizens. The track above is similarly still under construction, but that hasn't stopped cyclists from rounding those bright orange cones and carrying on. Note the tilted trash bin for cyclists too. The city's really going all out with this one.
It looks like they even widened the opening for those of us who are more likely to make a granny shot than a slam dunk..

Once it's all built and done, the simple two-way tracks will actually be part of a much larger scheme. Not only will they save Copenhageners time from wiggling around a delightful maze of small city centre streets, but they'll be a main link to the new pedestrian/cyclist bridges over the harbour.
The conceptual design for the new harbour bicycle bridge, which is currently under construction.
The final answer: one way street + two way cycle tracks = win win win. No need to complicate traffic flow with bi-directional bike lanes, just standard infrastructure on both sides.

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