Berlin's annual cycling takeover Fahrradsternfahrt, in 2015. Photo by Sean Gallup/Getty Images
Berlin's annual cycling takeover Fahrradsternfahrt, in 2015. Photo by Sean Gallup/Getty Images

Berlin Is Planning New Bicycle Superhighways

Berlin's annual cycling takeover Fahrradsternfahrt, in 2015. Photo by Sean Gallup/Getty Images
Berlin's annual cycling takeover Fahrradsternfahrt, in 2015. Photo by Sean Gallup/Getty Images

Berlin is planning on reinventing itself as one of the world’s great cycling cities. According to CityLab, the German capital is working on new bicycle superhighways that will likely be constructed along disused railway tracks.

Famously cycling-friendly cities like Copenhagen have been working on bicycle highways for years, giving cyclists long stretches of road to pedal safely and quickly, segregated from cars and with a minimum of delays for red lights. Other metropolises are following suit: Paris plans to have 28 miles of bike highways by 2020, and London opened up the first leg of its own superhighway last year.

Hoping to encourage people to get out of their cars and onto their bikes, Berlin began by looking at 30 feasible cycling routes in the city, focusing on routes of more than three miles. These potential highways will need to be 13 feet wide or more to allow people to pass each other, though sections that only have one-way traffic will be closer to 10 feet wide. The idea is that cyclists shouldn't have to stop for intersections or traffic lights for more than 30 seconds per kilometer (or about every half mile).

The Berlin Senate Department for Environment, Transport, and Climate Change has settled on 12 final corridors for the bike network, and is now conducting feasibility studies to decide how to move forward. The first of these studies—on an old Prussian railway route that ran between Berlin and Potsdam—will be available at the end of March. Studies on two other routes are expected by the end of 2017.

When completed, Berlin’s cycle network will be just a small part of Germany’s larger bike-friendly infrastructure upgrades. The Radschnellweg, a 13-foot-wide bike highway that will run 62 miles through 10 cities, is already under construction.

[h/t CityLab]

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Netherlands Officials Want to Pay Residents to Bike to Work
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Thinking about relocating to the Netherlands? You might also want to bring a bike. Government officials are looking to compensate residents for helping solve their traffic congestion problem and they want businesses to pay residents to bike to work, as The Independent reports.

Owing to automobile logjams on roadways that keep drivers stuck in their cars and cost the economy billions of euros annually, Dutch deputy infrastructure minister Stientje van Veldhoven recently told media that she's endorsing a program that would pay employees 19 cents for every kilometer (0.6 miles) they bike to work.

That doesn't sound like very much, but perhaps citizens who need to trek several miles each way would appreciate the cumulative boost in their weekly paychecks. For employers, the benefit would be a healthier workforce that might take fewer sick days and reduce parking needs.

Veldhoven says she also plans on designing a program that would assist employers in supplying workers with bicycles. The goal is to have 200,000 people opting for manual transportation over cars. If the program proceeds, it might find a receptive population. The Netherlands is already home to 22.5 million bikes, more than the 17.1 million people living there. In Amsterdam, a quarter of residents bike to work.

There's no timeline for implementing the pay-to-bike plan, but early trial studies indicate that the expense might not have to be a long-term prospect. Study subjects continued to bike to work even after the financial rewards stopped.

[h/t The Independent]

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New App Looks at Bike Share Programs and Public Transit When Planning Your Route
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Navigation apps aren't just for users traveling by car—as Engadget reports, Coord (a spin-off of Sidewalk Labs, which is a product of Google's parent company Alphabet) has released a route-planning web app that focuses exclusively on bikes and public transit.

Over the past several years, Google Maps has been gradually getting better at having clear, up-to-date public transportation options for users in major cities. Coord's new routing API takes this one step further: In addition to incorporating live data from bus and subway systems, it looks at bike sharing services, both docked options, like Citi Bike and Capital Bikeshare, and dockless ones, like Spin and Jump. Depending on transit schedules and the availability of bikes and bike docks, the app will calculate the best combination of transportation options to get you to your destination. If you're only interested in biking, Coord also offers a bike share API that cuts public transit out the equation altogether.

This new app from Coord is the mapping platform's latest attempt to develop navigation tools that better fit the needs of consumers. In April, they released an early version of their Curb Explorer feature, which uses a color-coded system to indicate where drivers are allowed to park when.

Coord's newest routing tool is just a demo, and it's only available for New York and Washington D.C. for now. But as bike share programs gain popularity, the new API or something similar to it could show up in mobile-based navigation apps like Google Maps in the future.

[h/t Engadget]

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