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Copenhagen first Cycle Super Highways open for commuters


Copenhagen first Cycle Super Highways open for commuters

People living in Greater Copenhagen will now have an easier time biking to work or school thanks to the regions' new network of bike lanes.

The country's first Cycle Super Highways – a bike lane that gives cyclists a safe, smooth ride and eliminates as many stops as possible is now open, connecting downtown Copenhagen with the town of Albertslund, 22km outside the city.

In addition to the orange stripe painted on the asphalt that indicates the route, cyclists will also enjoy amenities such as air pumps, safer intersections and traffic lights timed to average cycling speed, reducing the number of stops. The initiatives are intended as a way to encourage more commuters to travel by bike, even if their commutes are longer than 10km.

The newly opened Copenhagen-Albertslund route is the first of a planned network that when completed will include a total of 26 routes of Cycle Super Highways, in total covering 300km. The network will increase the number of bike lanes in Greater Copenhagen by 15 percent and is predicted to reduce public expenditure by E40.3 million annually thanks to improved health.

"Eliminating traffic jams requires fewer people driving and more people biking," said Ayfer Baykal, who heads Copenhagen City Council's Technical and Environmental Administration. "There are enormous gains to be had if we can get people to bike in and out of the city. Collaborating with our neighbouring municipalities to build the bike-bahns is the best thing we've done for cyclists since we started building bike lanes 100 years ago."

A total of 22 municipalities in the Greater Copenhagen area have all collaborated to build the new network of bike routes. Two more routes will open later this year.

The project intents to expand, improve and link existing bike lanes in Greater Copenhagen, as well as to improve signage, so commuters can quickly identify the easiest route available. In addition to signs marking the new route, an orange stripe has also been painted on the ground along its entire length.

"One in three people living in Greater Copenhagen say they would bike more if it were easier to do so," Vibeke Storm Rasmussen, the chair of the Greater Copenhagen Regional Council, said. "The bike-bahn is the best thing we can do to make cycling a real alternative to driving for even more commuters. The more people we can encourage to bike, the more we can reduce congestion and pollution – both of which will improve quality of life in Greater Copenhagen."

Before construction on the Copenhagen-Alberstlund route began, cyclists were asked to test drive the distance. Their conclusion was that their commute was disturbed most by red lights and crossroads. In order to eliminate those problems, traffic signals along the route are timed to give cyclists a 'green wave'. Timers also indicate when lights will change. The improvements, which also include redesigning intersections to make them easier for cyclists to cross, cost DKK 14.2 million.

Copenhagen Cycle Super Highways

Route C99 – the Albertslund Route, is Denmark's first Cycle Super Highway. A total of 26 such routes are planned for Greater Copenhagen, making it easier and safer for area residents to commute by bike.

• The Cycle Super Highways form a network of bike lanes that will make it easier and safer to commute by bike over long distances. The aim is to give those who today commute by car a real alternative to driving, and in so doing reduce congestion and pollution, which will improve quality of life in Greater Copenhagen.
• While a third of commuters in Greater Copenhagen travel by bike, most of those cycling commute less than 10km. The Cycle Super Highways are seen as a way to make it possible for those who travel longer distances to commute by bike as well.
• The Cycle Super Highways are expected to increase the overall number of bike lanes by 30%, or enough capacity for an additional 15,000 cyclists. Increasing the number of cyclists by that amount would release carbon dioxide emissions by 7,000 tonnes per year and reduce healthcare expenditure by DKK 300 million annually.
• Surveys have shown that Copenhagen residents choose cycling because it is easy, healthy, inexpensive and because it is often the fastest way to get around. The Cycle Super Highways will help extend these benefits to those who live more than 10km from their school or workplace.
• Bike-bahns must live up to certain quality standards. Among them: they must provide cyclists with the quickest route, they must be as direct as possible, have as few stops as possible, be wide enough for cyclists to overtake and be easily accessible.
• The Cycle Super Highways should also be an enjoyable ride. They must have a smooth surface, offer extra services such as air pumps and municipal governments must prioritise their maintenance. Above all, the bike-bahns must be safe.
• The first Cycle Super Highway, C99 – the Albertslund Route, opened on 14 April 2012. The next route scheduled to open will connect Copenhagen with the town of Farum, located 23km from downtown Copenhagen. Future expansions will see the network spread out to most municipalities in the region.
• A total of 22 municipalities in Greater Copenhagen are participating in the Cycle Super Highways project. They are: Albertslund, Ballerup, Brøndby, Frederiksberg, Furesø, Gentofte, Gladsaxe, Glostrup, Herlev, Hvidovre, Ishøj, København, Lyngby-Taarbæk, Rudersdal, Rødovre, Vallensbæk, Allerød, Frederikssund, Helsingør, Hørsholm, Høje-Taastrup and Egedal.

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9. May 2012

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