Architect and cycling enthusiast Sir Norman Foster just unveiled plans for the SkyCycle, a “cycle utopia” that soars up and above the congested streets of London. The three-story high bicycle highway is envisioned to cover 135 miles routed above the city’s existing rail lines. The sky-high scheme was created as a response to growing concerns over bicycle safety and the mounting physical constraints of adding on-the-ground segregated bike paths.
In recent years, London has been stunned by a growing and unprecedented rate of cyclist casualties. In November 2013, six cyclists were killed on the road within the span of two weeks. To address both safety concerns and the skyrocketing popularity of urban cycling, Foster proposed the SkyCycle as a safer and more effective transport system for future generations of cyclists. During rush hour, the bicycle highways could transport about 400,000 commuters and slash as much as a half an hour from commute times.
If the plans are approved, the city estimates that it could take 20 years to build all ten routes, with the first phase stretching from east London to the centrally located Liverpool Street Station. The car-free highway isn’t cheap, however, and is projected to cost over £200 million. “SkyCycle is a lateral approach to finding space in a congested city,” says Foster. “We could create a world-class network of safe, car-free cycle routes that are ideally located for commuters.”