Monday, December 17, 2007

Sydney studies a bike-pedestrian skyway

See how far some people are willing to go to make bicycling attractive? In Australia, a city looks at building an elevated path for cyclists and walkers -- at a cost of $30 million for two kilometers. I don't recommend it, because I'd rather ride to the front door of wherever I'm going -- but it is interesting by comparison with the meager resources most American cities contemplate putting into bike-ped facilities.


vey said...

I really don't understand the amazed attitude from JHop. If bicycles and walking are legitimate forms of transportation, then everything that is done for other forms of transportation to avoid conflict, such as bridges or tunnels, are legitimate.

Let's think about two other forms of transportation that are not compatible -- the train and the truck or car. In most cities north of Florida, bridges have been built, either for trains or for roads so that neither conflict. They do not conflict in Atlanta.

Even in smaller towns such as Wildwood Florida or Waycross Georgia, bridges or tunnels have been built so that conflicts do not happen and no one has to wait.

To avoid these conflicts involved spending capital -- money and political. Land had to be taken by eminent domain. Expensive bridges were built. People had to be convinced that everyone would be better off if the bridges were built.

Around here, new roads are being built. They are limited access toll roads. For people that want urban bicycle trails, they should look at those roads as models. It is not impossible or unreasonable.

My neighboring city has a plan where an "urban trail" will intersect with 20 streets and that is unreasonable.

Mighk said...

This isn't a bridge Sydney is "studying," but an elevated path. I've been seeing this silly idea put forth in various magazines and such for over 20 years. Nobody's ever built one. Why? It's ridiculously expensive.
The proponents clearly do not use bicycles for transportation or understand it. We have elevated freeways to carry vehicles THROUGH cities; access to in-town destinations is sacrificed to improve speed. Bicycle trips are mostly WITHIN cities, where access is the whole point and speed is mostly irrelevant.

$30 million is an extremely naive cost estimate. A "simple" pedestrian overpass crossing a 130-foot wide street in the US now runs about $3 million. Building a 1.25 mile equivalent would cost at least $50 million. You could build at least a couple hundred miles of bike lanes for that kind of money.