Sunday, November 22, 2015

This Berlin Bike Path Idea

There are occasions that you admire the innovation and vision of Germans.

There's a project underway in Berlin which will draw people to rethink bicycle limits in urban areas.

On the books as a potential project.....not approved yet I should this idea of a covered cycle bike path under (emphasize the word "under" from the Zoo Bahnof to the Warsaw Bridge.  In essence, it would connect the 'burbs' of Charlottenburg, Schoneberg, Fredrichshain and Kruzberg.  A nine-kilometer bike path.

You have to use your imagination to some degree.  This train line already exists and is elevated as it crosses the city.  It's straight and level for the most part.  All the planners would do is add a structure hanging off this elevated train area where a bike trail (likely made out of steel) would be wide enough for two bikes to comfortably pass each other.

Cost?  Unknown.  That was the curious piece to the story.  The planners had spent a year looking at the idea.....working the diagrams and space required....but never getting to a price?  My guess is that for 9 kilometers of hanging trails and the entry-exit's probably over 100 million Euro.

The planners did a curious thing at the end.....they publicized this to the absolute maximum.  Since we are a year away from the Berlin-state election.....they've effectively made this bike trail idea a key part of the campaign episode.  Green Party enthusiasts might be able to get another five-percent of the vote if this was widely talked about.

The negative?  Some people have looked at the width of the trail and questioned the safety wisdom of the width.

Here in my local region (Wiesbaden-Mainz), we have a railway bridge (the Kaiser Brucke) which also has a bike trail on it (along the side, not under).  The trail is roughly 1.5 meters wide as it utilizes the side of the bridge.  It's wide enough that a walker and a biker can pass along at the same time.  It's safe for two bikers to safely pass at a slow speed.  I could see the safety questions being legit and limiting this idea.

Bottom line?  There is a slow progression toward a bike-friendly urban situation in Germany.  I admit, it might take a couple of decades.

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