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Old 07-18-12, 08:36 AM   #1
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Commuter pedal to work on their very own superhighway (Copenhagen)

In today's NY Times (July 18, 2012), there's a piece about the new 11-mile bike path (dubbed a cycle superhighway) between Copenhagen and Albertslund, a suburb of the city. Denmark's commitment to cycling is extensive and cuts across political parties: "The plan has received widespread support in a country whose left- and right-leaning lawmakers both regularly bike to work (albeit on slightly different models of bicycle)." I'd love to know what those different bike choices are for a liberal versus a conservative.

Although I was aware that many European countries are far ahead of the U.S. in terms of percentage of cycling commuters, I did not know, until I read this article, that more than half of Copenhagen's residents bike to work or school every day. Wow. More than half!

One of the nice touches on this new bike highway--an air pump every mile. And apparently there's something called a "karma campaign":

Superhighway users can also look forward to some variation on the “karma campaign,” now under way in Copenhagen, in which city employees take to the streets with boxes of chocolate to reward cyclists who adhere to the five rules of cycling: be nice, signal, stay to the right, overtake carefully and, rather than let bicycle bells irritate you, do your best to appreciate them.


Ding, ding, I say!

Here's a link to the article: http://www.nytimes.com/2012/07/18/wo...?smid=pl-share
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Old 07-18-12, 08:48 AM   #2
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In today's NY Times (July 18, 2012), there's a piece about the new 11-mile bike path (dubbed a cycle superhighway) between Copenhagen and Albertslund, a suburb of the city. Denmark's commitment to cycling is extensive and cuts across political parties: "The plan has received widespread support in a country whose left- and right-leaning lawmakers both regularly bike to work (albeit on slightly different models of bicycle)." I'd love to know what those different bike choices are for a liberal versus a conservative.

Although I was aware that many European countries are far ahead of the U.S. in terms of percentage of cycling commuters, I did not know, until I read this article, that more than half of Copenhagen's residents bike to work or school every day. Wow. More than half!

One of the nice touches on this new bike highway--an air pump every mile. And apparently there's something called a "karma campaign":

Superhighway users can also look forward to some variation on the “karma campaign,” now under way in Copenhagen, in which city employees take to the streets with boxes of chocolate to reward cyclists who adhere to the five rules of cycling: be nice, signal, stay to the right, overtake carefully and, rather than let bicycle bells irritate you, do your best to appreciate them.


Ding, ding, I say!

Here's a link to the article: http://www.nytimes.com/2012/07/18/wo...?smid=pl-share
This is so cool! I'm really glad you shared this, I am definitely going to pass this along. If only we could get the US on board with the cycling fever...
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Old 07-18-12, 08:53 AM   #3
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This is so cool! I'm really glad you shared this, I am definitely going to pass this along. If only we could get the US on board with the cycling fever...
The US will only get on board when they start charging 180-200% sales tax on cars and roughly 10 USD/gallon of fuel, like Denmark.
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Old 07-18-12, 08:57 AM   #4
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The US will only get on board when they start charging 180-200% sales tax on cars and roughly 10 USD/gallon of fuel, like Denmark.
I'd support that.
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Old 07-18-12, 08:59 AM   #5
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You beat me to posting this excellent piece. I can't get enough on those Danish commuters -- and the Dutch, too.
I wonder how the same concept would work in the USA. Are we too individualistic for a bike superhighway? Would commuters have to dodge dogs on leashes, meandering rollerbladers and speed-demon roadies the way we do on MUPs?
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Old 07-18-12, 08:59 AM   #6
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The US will only get on board when they start charging 180-200% sales tax on cars and roughly 10 USD/gallon of fuel, like Denmark.
I'm all for it but most people here wouldn't be so willing.
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Old 07-18-12, 09:10 AM   #7
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I find that Germany is an interesting mix of bike-friendly and car-friendly.

You have some of the best roads in the world with a "suggested" speed limit of 130km/h (85 mph) where the traffic in the fast lane moves at roughly 200km/h (125 mph), some of the most interesting car makers (Audi, MB, VW, BMW), and reasonable fuel prices (1.60€/L). You also have no 200% tax on autos.

You also have some of the best cycle paths around. Literally, thousands of miles of well-maintained miles of car-free cycle paths and very nice bike makers.

You also also have some of the best public transport (in every city) and trains that go 300km/h (185mph) in between cities.

Denmark is much more biased toward bikes only. It's as extreme as the US is public-transport/high-speed rail unfriendly/car-friendly. I guess that Denmark has to be that way due to its small population (rough 25%+ of Danes are in Copenhagen).
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Old 07-18-12, 09:55 AM   #8
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You have some of the best roads in the world with a "suggested" speed limit of 130km/h (85 mph) where the traffic in the fast lane moves at roughly 200km/h (125 mph), some of the most interesting car makers (Audi, MB, VW, BMW), and reasonable fuel prices (1.60€/L). You also have no 200% tax on autos.
There's the issue right there.

In the US, they'll tell you how you're going to act. Disobey if you dare.
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Old 07-18-12, 10:02 AM   #9
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There's the issue right there.

In the US, they'll tell you how you're going to act. Disobey if you dare.
There are many sections with a "speed limit" of 120/100/80/60 km/h (tunnels or "quiet" areas, for example).

However, a lot of it is "unrestricted", and if I drive "only" 160km/h (100mph) in the fast lane, I get flashed because people are going by at 200-250 km/h (most cars are electronically limited to 255km/h or 155mph for "safety reasons")

Actually, I have a sticker that "recommends" that I stay below 210km/h (130mph) when the winter tires are on the car, because they'll last longer
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Old 07-18-12, 10:26 AM   #10
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You beat me to posting this excellent piece. I can't get enough on those Danish commuters -- and the Dutch, too.
I wonder how the same concept would work in the USA. Are we too individualistic for a bike superhighway? Would commuters have to dodge dogs on leashes, meandering rollerbladers and speed-demon roadies the way we do on MUPs?
Glad to see the Danes are finally catching up to us in the States where we've had cycling superhighways for years:



Locally, there's the Cedar Lake Trail/Midtown Greenway that connects Minneapolis with some Western suburbs. I know there are other examples throughout the country. There aren't air pumps available at every mile but personally I think you're better off carrying one with you.

Don't get me wrong, there's plenty to learn from what some European cities have done but I also believe that North American cities/suburbs present some different challenges that may require different approaches to encourage more cycling.

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Old 07-18-12, 10:41 AM   #11
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Glad to see the Danes are finally catching up to us in the States where we've had cycling superhighways for years:



Locally, there's the Cedar Lake Trail/Midtown Greenway that connects Minneapolis with some Western suburbs. I know there are other examples throughout the country. There aren't air pumps available at every mile but personally I think you're better off carrying one with you.

Don't get me wrong, there's plenty to learn from what some European cities have done but I also believe that North American cities/suburbs present some different challenges that may require different approaches to encourage more cycling.
Good infrastructure ... but it's looks really empty to be considered a "superhighway"

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Old 07-18-12, 11:03 AM   #12
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Good infrastructure ... but it's looks really empty to be considered a "superhighway"

It looks empty in that picture but it's considerably busier during "rush hour". It's still nothing like Copenhagen but I would argue that for "Super Highways" that's a good thing. You want the lanes big enough and uncongested enough that you're not crawling along at 8 mph. Moving at that speed is fine if you're only going a couple of miles. To travel between cities or between cities and suburbs you're going to want to go faster.
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Old 07-18-12, 03:57 PM   #13
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I find that Germany is an interesting mix of bike-friendly and car-friendly.

You have some of the best roads in the world with a "suggested" speed limit of 130km/h (85 mph) where the traffic in the fast lane moves at roughly 200km/h (125 mph), some of the most interesting car makers (Audi, MB, VW, BMW), and reasonable fuel prices (1.60€/L). You also have no 200% tax on autos.

You also have some of the best cycle paths around. Literally, thousands of miles of well-maintained miles of car-free cycle paths and very nice bike makers.

You also also have some of the best public transport (in every city) and trains that go 300km/h (185mph) in between cities.

Denmark is much more biased toward bikes only. It's as extreme as the US is public-transport/high-speed rail unfriendly/car-friendly. I guess that Denmark has to be that way due to its small population (rough 25%+ of Danes are in Copenhagen).
I'm happy with both cars and bikes sharing their haul of transportation duties. They both serve a purpose. But it's disappointing when the funding disparity is so big. A dollar for each wheel would be a great start.
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Old 07-18-12, 04:20 PM   #14
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Don't get me wrong, there's plenty to learn from what some European cities have done but I also believe that North American cities/suburbs present some different challenges that may require different approaches to encourage more cycling.
The only "different approaches" we need is to stop worshiping the automobile as if it is some sort of "deity." There is absolutely no reason that the US can't be as cycle friendly as say Germany... Perhaps Eisenhower didn't quite learn enough in his tour of Germany...

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Federal...ay_Act_of_1956
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Eisenhower's support of the Federal-Aid Highway Act of 1956 can be directly attributed to his experiences in 1919 as a participant in the U.S. Army's first Transcontinental Motor Convoy across the United States on the historic Lincoln Highway, which was the first road across America. The highly publicized 1919 convoy was intended, in part, to dramatize the need for better main highways and continued federal aid. The convoy left the Ellipse south of the White House in Washington D.C. on July 7, 1919, and headed for Gettysburg, Pennsylvania. From there, it followed the Lincoln Highway to San Francisco. Bridges cracked and were rebuilt, vehicles became stuck in mud, and equipment broke, but the convoy was greeted warmly by communities across the country. The convoy reached San Francisco on September 6, 1919.

The convoy was memorable enough for a young Army officer, Lt. Col. Dwight David Eisenhower, to include a chapter about the trip, titled "Through Darkest America With Truck and Tank," in his book At Ease: Stories I Tell to Friends (Doubleday and Company, Inc., 1967). "The trip had been difficult, tiring, and fun," he said. That experience on the Lincoln Highway, plus his observations of the German autobahn network during World War II, convinced him to support construction of the Interstate System when he became President.
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Old 07-18-12, 04:22 PM   #15
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I find that Germany is an interesting mix of bike-friendly and car-friendly.

You have some of the best roads in the world with a "suggested" speed limit of 130km/h (85 mph) where the traffic in the fast lane moves at roughly 200km/h (125 mph), some of the most interesting car makers (Audi, MB, VW, BMW), and reasonable fuel prices (1.60€/L). You also have no 200% tax on autos.

You also have some of the best cycle paths around. Literally, thousands of miles of well-maintained miles of car-free cycle paths and very nice bike makers.

You also also have some of the best public transport (in every city) and trains that go 300km/h (185mph) in between cities.

Denmark is much more biased toward bikes only. It's as extreme as the US is public-transport/high-speed rail unfriendly/car-friendly. I guess that Denmark has to be that way due to its small population (rough 25%+ of Danes are in Copenhagen).
I understand that the liability laws in Germany are such that a motorist is considered at fault in a car/bike collision unless it can be proven that the cyclist was clearly wrong.
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Old 07-18-12, 04:38 PM   #16
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Glad to see the Danes are finally catching up to us in the States where we've had cycling superhighways for years:


Locally, there's the Cedar Lake Trail/Midtown Greenway that connects Minneapolis with some Western suburbs. I know there are other examples throughout the country.
The 'bicycle superhighways' is the US are usually...and derisively...referred to as 'bike paths' and most 'serious' cyclists will turn their noses up at them. From where I live I can ride a few miles in any direction and find a 'bicycle superhighway' that will let me ride for miles and miles without ever having to stop at a light or deal with a car. The Denver Metro area has been building these since around 1965 and we have hundreds of miles of them.

And if you want traffic to rival that seen in the NY Time picture, just try to ride on the Cherry Creek path between 6 and 10 am or between 4 and 6 pm as well as on any given Saturday or Sunday.

And Denver seems to be doing something right. According to Bike Denver, we have seen a 22% increase in bicycle over last year and are currently commuting at 4 times the national average.
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Old 07-18-12, 04:55 PM   #17
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If you built it they will come.
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Old 07-18-12, 08:09 PM   #18
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The 'bicycle superhighways' is the US are usually...and derisively...referred to as 'bike paths' and most 'serious' cyclists will turn their noses up at them.
Those sound like MUPs and what I'm talking about is something a bit different:



Notice the three paths or "lanes".

The Cedar Lake Trail is described locally as America's first "bicycle freeway". How accurate that is I don't know but there are a few things that distinguish it from a MUP. The first is that there are physically separate bike lanes for traffic moving in either direction (like a freeway) as well as a physically separate path for pedestrians. The second is that it was designed for transportation rather than recreation. It connects downtown Minneapolis to the Western burbs. The third is that there is no speed limit like there are on many (but not all) of the city MUPs.

It's not the busiest part of the local cycling infrastructure but our recent bike counter project recorded a little over 2,000 cyclists per day on that trail. I'm sure some of them could even be considered 'serious'.

Anyway I hope you will all forgive me for thinking that what the Danes are proposing to build isn't really something new.

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From where I live I can ride a few miles in any direction and find a 'bicycle superhighway' that will let me ride for miles and miles without ever having to stop at a light or deal with a car. The Denver Metro area has been building these since around 1965 and we have hundreds of miles of them.

And if you want traffic to rival that seen in the NY Time picture, just try to ride on the Cherry Creek path between 6 and 10 am or between 4 and 6 pm as well as on any given Saturday or Sunday.

And Denver seems to be doing something right. According to Bike Denver, we have seen a 22% increase in bicycle over last year and are currently commuting at 4 times the national average.
Awesome !

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Old 07-18-12, 09:01 PM   #19
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Those sound like MUPs and what I'm talking about is something a bit different:



Notice the three paths or "lanes".

The Cedar Lake Trail is described locally as America's first "bicycle freeway". How accurate that is I don't know but there are a few things that distinguish it from a MUP. The first is that there are physically separate bike lanes for traffic moving in either direction (like a freeway) as well as a physically separate path for pedestrians. The second is that it was designed for transportation rather than recreation. It connects downtown Minneapolis to the Western burbs. The third is that there is no speed limit like there are on many (but not all) of the city MUPs.

It's not the busiest part of the local cycling infrastructure but our recent bike counter project recorded a little over 2,000 cyclists per day on that trail. I'm sure some of them could even be considered 'serious'.

Anyway I hope you will all forgive me for thinking that what the Danes are proposing to build isn't really something new.
This is truly impressive. Had no idea there was such a "bicycle freeway" in the U.S. Do you know how many miles long it is? And what happens in the winter--are there snow plows that keep the lanes clear?

Thanks for sharing.
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Old 07-18-12, 09:38 PM   #20
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This is truly impressive. Had no idea there was such a "bicycle freeway" in the U.S. Do you know how many miles long it is? And what happens in the winter--are there snow plows that keep the lanes clear?

Thanks for sharing.
The divided portion of it isn't all that long, - maybe 3 or 4 miles. There's another 4 miles or so that heads further West but it's the more typical single strip of pavement with a dotted line separating the lanes. At that point you're well into the suburbs and there may be other paths connected to it, - I don't know.

Within Minneapolis there are various "spurs" that connect the Cedar Lake Trail with other infrastructure like the Midtown Greenway which runs across the city below grade so there are only a few stops. Some of the spurs have divided lanes too.

All the separate cycling infrastructure gets plowed during the winter and they do a pretty good job.

The bike lanes that are painted on the streets are a different story. Over the course of the winter, snow banks encroach further and further onto the streets until eventually the cars end up parking in the bike lanes.

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Old 07-18-12, 10:07 PM   #21
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Those sound like MUPs and what I'm talking about is something a bit different:

Notice the three paths or "lanes".

The Cedar Lake Trail is described locally as America's first "bicycle freeway". How accurate that is I don't know but there are a few things that distinguish it from a MUP. The first is that there are physically separate bike lanes for traffic moving in either direction (like a freeway) as well as a physically separate path for pedestrians. The second is that it was designed for transportation rather than recreation. It connects downtown Minneapolis to the Western burbs. The third is that there is no speed limit like there are on many (but not all) of the city MUPs.

It's not the busiest part of the local cycling infrastructure but our recent bike counter project recorded a little over 2,000 cyclists per day on that trail. I'm sure some of them could even be considered 'serious'.

Anyway I hope you will all forgive me for thinking that what the Danes are proposing to build isn't really something new.
The first picture you posted isn't all that different from many MUPs that I've seen and used. It's certainly different from your next picture. Denver also has MUPs where the bicycle lane and the pedestrian lane is separated by a river.

However, having separate lanes for bikes and peds not to mention having different paths for different directions is probably overkill for most MUPs. While some paths have a high traffic count, most...including those in Denmark...probably don't have enough traffic count to justify the investment in funds to build that kind of facility nor the space available to justify them. That's largely the point of bicycles in the first place. We don't need 60 feet of pavement to move hundreds of people. I look at your second picture (and the lack of people) and I see 3 or 4 miles of trail that could have been built elsewhere to better effect.

On the winter front, Denver's paths are maintained by the Denver Parks and Recreation Department. All of the major trails in the City and County of Denver are plowed the day of a storm and are often clearer than the roads around them.
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Old 07-19-12, 06:13 AM   #22
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I'm just jealous that any of you guys get to ride on MUPs, bike paths, bike highways, or any other type of bike infrastructure. We don't have that over here (save for your random spotting of unconnected pathway that ran out of funding/has been forgotten about).
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Old 07-19-12, 07:12 AM   #23
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Those sound like MUPs and what I'm talking about is something a bit different:



Notice the three paths or "lanes".

The Cedar Lake Trail
Thanks for posting,

I am lucky enough to commute on the Cedar Lake Trail daily year round and I have been since it was built. A big determining factor in where I purchased my home was proximity to this cycling infrastructure. Of my 7.5 mile (one way) commute 6.5 miles of it is on this path.

And to answer BlueShoes' question, I'm not sure of the total actual length as it intersects with all the other paths in the network (maybe 10 miles?). In the winter it is usually plowed before the roads. No salt is used, some sand is spread on icy sections for ped traffic. I would say that in a typical winter it averages about 60% dry pavement on most days thanks to the sun and the plowing. Some sections stay frozen and icy all winter, but studded tires do the job.
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Old 07-19-12, 07:43 AM   #24
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I think that part of Europe is an aberration. Europe, as a whole, seems to be changing, becoming more America-like, if you will. The evidence is in these two links: http://www.euro.who.int/en/what-we-d...seases/obesity ;;;; http://www.guardian.co.uk/society/20...?newsfeed=true


However, with respect to cycling in Denmark, I would hate it -- it'd be awful for me. Those paths ("superhighways") are just too full of riders. I love riding faster than most, so that keeps me off all MUPs/bikepaths in the interest of safety. I love the road and despite me having to ride in very congested roads I control my ride, whereas on a cycling superhighway one must ride as part of the pack. Not for me.
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Old 07-19-12, 09:02 AM   #25
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Quote:
Originally Posted by acidfast7 View Post
Good infrastructure ... but it's looks really empty to be considered a "superhighway"
Here's a little more traffic congestion in America.

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