1. Built environment
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November 19, 2015updated 20 Jul 2021 3:26pm

Copenhagen is building a bike lane in the sky

By City Monitor Staff

Copenhagen is a great city for cyclists. We know that already. It has cycle lanes and special bridges coming out of its ears, and the traffic lights are even programmed to help cyclists zip through the city without stopping during peak times.

But the latest bit of cycle infrastructure in the city seems excessive, even for the Danish capital. Plans first made in 2008 but finally coming to fruition next year would see two brand new towers built on either side of a city port, connected by a cycle bridge 213 feet above the water’s surface. 

Yep. That’s a cycle bridge, 213 feet in the air. 

Here’s what it would look like:

At first glance, the bridge, designed by architect Stephen Holl, looks like another high-concept vanity project unlikely to ever be built. Also, a bit like Tower Bridge.

But bizarrely, what looks like a completely impractical solution was chosen for very practical reasons.

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The two arms of the port which the bridge will connect are currently only accessible via a 2km detour around the port’s edge, which means a short-cut could save a lot of people a lot of time. City regulations also dictate that residences in the city must be within 500m of public transport, criteria currently not met by some homes around the port’s mouth. The new transport link should bring these within 500m of a transport stop. 

Makes, sense, right? But why stick the cycle bridge up in the air, so cyclists and pedestrians have to travel in special lifts on either side to access it? Since the port is still operational, the bridge must be high enough to allow boats to pass beneath it. 

Construction on the towers and bridge begin next year. But will people bother lugging bikes up and down two escalators just to cut down their journey a little? We’ll believe it when we see it. 

All images: Stephen Holl.

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