Thursday, September 19, 2013

Submerged Bicycle Bridge in Haarlem

The city of Haarlem wanted to create a barrier free passage where a main arterial route for motor traffic and a main cycle route along a river bank crossed each other’s paths. But there was no space for an overpass, and a tunnel right next to a river was not such a great idea either. So designers came up with the plan to lead the cycle route through the river under the approach span of the two existing drawbridges for the arterial road. A perfect idea, but there was just one small problem: there was not enough clearance, the bridges were almost 30 centimetres or a little under a foot too low. So what do you do? That was not so hard in a country full of civil engineers who specialize in dams, dikes and flood gates: you simply lower the cycle route below the water level so that there is enough head room for the people cycling there. In the video you can see that it is heavily used by all types of people cycling on a variety of bicycles. The city of Haarlem can be proud to have created one more barrier free cycle route in the Netherlands. And cycling under the water level on a cycle ‘bridge’ is a unique experience, even in the Netherlands. Read and see more at Bicycle Dutch.

Friday, September 13, 2013

Car driving is the new smoking

Velo Mondial hardly ever joins anti propaganda for cars. Giving sometimes attention to the negative effects of car driving however is approriate. We have often complained about the negative impacts of our car culture, but Chris Bruntlett, writing in Vancouver magazine Hush, goes much further, calling them selfish, anti-social, unhealthy, and destructive. He says that it is time to start treating cars as the 21st century version of smoking; and picks up on Mikael Colville-Andersen's idea of warning labels for cars. with his own up-to-date designs. Bruntlett notes how wasteful and inefficient cars are:Let’s face it: when someone gets into a car, they are entering a bubble. Not just a physical bubble of metal and glass, but also a figurative one, where all logic and reasoning is barred from entering. They seem oblivious to the simple truth that the motor vehicle is the most inefficient mode of transportation ever devised. Without thinking, they squander millions of years of stored solar energy to haul around two tons of metal, fibreglass, machinery, and electronics, along with their meager frame. This machine demands a colossal amount of space: 300 square feet when parked, and 3,000 square feet when moving at 50 km/hr. As a result, we carelessly hand over vast chunks of our public realm to the parasitic automobile; space that could be put to much better use. Read on in Treehugger.