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Monday, January 16, 2006
By Yokota Fritz

Imagine the ultimate segregated bike facility: an elevated concrete and glass tunnel to protect cyclists from the weather and move them along at their own travel lanes at more than 20 mph. That's the dream of Toronto architect Chris Hardwicke and his Velo-City proposal.

"It’s about building a separate infrastructure, just like a highway for cars. I thought, why not a highway for bikes," Mr. Hardwicke says. Hardwicke says the bike tunnels would be comparable in cost to highway construction and could be built over existing streets. The tunnels would be one way, with three lanes in each. Because the tunnels offer protection from wind and with the cyclists riding in one direction, the cyclists would create their own tailwind, propelling them along at speeds much faster than they would average outdoors.

This proposal reminds me of Bicycle Transportation Systems in Denver and its Transglide 2000™ "bicycle transit system." Like Velo-City, Transglide is a system of elevated tunnels for cyclists. Unlike Velo-City, however, air is moved through the Transglide passageways to push cyclists along their way to reduce their effort and increase their speed.

Photo info: Pipe Dream by richardmasoner.

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