For a while, Berlin was struggling to keep up with the rapidly evolving development of bike-friendly European cities. Despite being one of the first cities acknowledged for a well-established network of sidewalk paths for cyclists, Berlin had fallen behind Amsterdam’s and Copenhagen’s cycling innovations due to the city’s layout, which lacked sufficient space and separation from cars and pedestrians. Lawmakers in Berlin are rapidly working towards remedying the issue. Their latest plan includes 13 bike “superhighways.” The first two of these highways are set to begin construction by the end of 2017.
What separates these highways from other bike lanes is their complete separation from car traffic and unbroken longer-distance routes that will allow Berliners to get in and out of the city’s center quickly and safely. Berlin already has many bike paths, as most major roads have sidewalks wide enough to make room for a single bike lane—one on each side of the street—without overcrowding pedestrians. Yet, safety is still a concern, as cyclists are occasionally left with no other option than to ride startlingly close to traffic.
If regulations for bike highways are treated with equal care as those generally granted to motor vehicle highways, the project could be a success. The highways’ proposed rules include minimum lengths per highway and biking traffic regulations at intersections. Looking forward, the project is certain to gain traction: Citizens campaigning for a city-wide referendum on bike funding earned over 100,000 signatures in 2016, with all parties supporting the bicycle highways. With a plethora of public support for the new superhighways, Berlin is sure to see progress in its plans to cultivate a cyclist-friendly and progressive city.
Read the full story here (via CityLab)
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