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.