LESSONS FROM ABROAD
REGIONAL TRAVEL IN DENMARK AND THE NETHERLANDS
Today we met with Copenhagenize Design Company founded by Mikael Colville-Anderson, the inspirational speaker in the TED talk in my previous post. I've been following his work since 2008, when I found Copenhagen Cycle Chic, a website dedicated to showing photographs of every day people traveling by bike in Copenhagen. Colville-Anderson's whole point, which he developed into a consulting company, is that it's not about bikes and it's not about "cyclists," it's about people moving about their city to live their daily lives. What we learned at Copenhagenize Design Company is that the City made choices based on their residents desires (less congestion), and these choices (a network of bicycle infrastructure) was not only the cheapest choice, but also the most sustainable. Morton, the President, then went on to describe the four types of bicycle infrastructure in Copenhagen: the shared street, the painted bicycle lane, the curb separated bicycle track and buffered (plus separated) cycle tracks. Each of those examples are below, except for the buffered plus separated cycle tracks--those are more on the regional routes.
I thought of a few key differences between this hierarchy and the hierarchy used in the United States; which there isn't clear guidance on, but the National Association of City Transportation Officials (NACTO) has some, and so does the Federal Highway Administration. The first difference is that shared lanes, or sharrows, don't exist here. Streets do exist that are shared, but they are low volume, low speed, and have some traffic calming at one or both ends. These are generally along residential buildings. The second difference I noted is that painted bike lanes ALL have the additional protection parked cars. So there is rarely an instance when a car can veer into you. Curb separated are the most common and the most comfortable to use. They exist on all major arterials and form a network across the city. The network self-reinforcing as well. What this means is that if you make a wrong turn and there's no curb separated cycle track, you can be confident enough that the speed and volumes are low enough on the street you're on that you can continue on your journey.
There was a specific request to look for examples of shared streets so I have a number of photos demonstrating more details below. You'll see large granite blocks are used not to stop vehicles from entering, but merely slow them down. There is traffic calming to slow cars down and make them unable to avoid the hump, while also having space for bicyclists to easily pedal by. And there are material transitions used to help differentiate the space for primary users.