Copenhagen is a place where people ride in bicycle lanes without helmets, ride fast, all while they have two kids on board and bags of groceries. Congestion of bicycle lanes is a common problem; and probably one of the best problems a city can have.
This city wasn’t always so bicycle friendly. As one Streetsblog.com blogger noted, the 1960’s was a car dominant time for this Danish capital. However, in 1962 the first pedestrian street was built and since then the city has been taking measures to reduce the number of cars on the road and increase the number of bikers. Jan Gehl, a renowned Danish urban designer, indicates that land in Copenhagen city center that is dedicated to the car has been reduced by 2-3% every year since the 1960’s. This equates to the bicycle becoming the preferred mode of transportation of Copenhageners because of the ease of parking and navigating through the city.
The city of Copenhagen even incorporates bicycle infrastructure to accommodate the large number of bicycle users. Specifically, a bicycle and pedestrian bridge, called Bryggebroen, was built to connect two masses of land separated by a river. The CEO of Copenhagen City, Claus Juhl, reports that in the past five years the city built five bridges to accommodate the popularity of bicycles. He predicts that in the next five years, Copenhagen will have to build five more. This heavy investment of bicycle infrastructure is a clear indicator that two wheels rule when traveling in this city.
While walking down 8th Avenue in New York City this morning, I walked beside a bicycle lane. Albeit a frigid morning, the lane was used, but sparsely. Biking in Copenhagen isn’t just a summertime trend, it’s a lifestyle. When it’s cold or warm, rain or shine you will find Copenhageners riding their bicycles. They ride their bicycles to work, to school and to run every day errands. I wonder to myself, how can we take New York’s start at bicycle friendliness and fuse it into the New York City culture? This mode of transportation is convenient and quick, helps save money on gas and reduces emissions. Integrating bicycles even more into our infrastructure can only create a more sustainable future.
Earthgarage – Greener Car. Fatter Wallet.