Berlin bikers could soon receive a major upgrade to their city’s cycling infrastructure. City officials are scrutinizing at least 12 new bike superhighways – especially those longer than five kilometers, or 3.1 miles. According to CityLab, the city could begin constructing the first two superhighways by the end of this year.
Only around 20 years ago, Berlin used to be one of Europe’s bike capitals thanks to a sidewalk path network. Recently overtaken by cities like Copenhagen and Amsterdam, Berlin’s network – which doesn’t always separate bikes much from cars or pedestrians – now seems outdated. But the city has a plan to improve their cycling infrastructure with multiple new bike superhighways.
The government originally looked at 30 bike superhighways, and according to the Senate Administration for the Environment, Transport, and Climate Protection, narrowed that list down to 12 corridors and published a map with potential routes online in February. CityLab says 13 superhighways were approved at the end of February. The superhighway lanes will be at least 13 feet wide in many areas; the lanes will shrink to just under 10 feet wide when divided into one-way tracks.
There are many possible locations for the bike superhighways, according to CityLab. Berlin possesses railway tracks abandoned during the postwar period that could be repurposed for green transportation. The street Strasse des 17. Juni, widened by Nazis, is described as unnecessarily large by CityLab and portions could be used for cyclists instead. The space underneath the city’s elevated subway could also be adapted to accommodate bikes. Berlin’s ripe for better biking, and many residents are behind the improvements. CityLab noted a popular campaign aimed at getting a referendum for more bike funding garnered more than 100,000 signatures in 2016.