Cycling up in the air

27 Sep 2012

New scheme by Exterior Architecture poses inventive way of cycling around London

Skycycle is a concept created between two minds over a couple of beers at a local pub. It has been described by its creator as the solution to cycling around London. Just this week images were released of this spectacular proposal alongside a design brief describing the scheme.

Sam Martin, landscape architect and director for Exterior Architecture, has commented: "SkyCycle is the next logical step, because you can't realistically build more cycle lanes on ground level. SkyCycle will not replace the roads, it will simply be an alternative option." This has been compared to New York's High Line project however its function is distinctively different with the aim of making cycling a more pleasurable experience and the roads a safer place.

His creation has been visualised in images depicting a blue helix structure with a red ribbon circulating the raised platform. The idea is to create a suspended network of cycle routes which connect the mainline rail routes across London. Just recently Boris Johnson has begun to consider the proposal with thoughts that the first routes could be put up on the Olympic regeneration of east London, linking Stratford with the City of London through Liverpool and Fenchurch Street stations. "There is a proposal, which is very interesting, to hook up mainline stations in London along the side of raised railway tracks, with a new cycle path," Boris commented.

The proposal envisages users to pay a fee of £1 using the Oyster Card to use the system which would be a considerable saving on public transport. As a result there will need to be the creation of more bike storage stands across the city and the addition of ramps from stations. The proposed network will utilise the air rights of Network Rail's train lines so they can be located on land adjacent to the track or perhaps even clipped on to the existing railway viaducts and bridges. These by nature act as direct arteries feeding into the City.

Just this week Sam Martin met with Network Rail to study a 4 mile line of track into the heart of London and they will present their findings and thoughts in a meeting at City Hall in a few weeks time.  The scheme is predicted to be completed by 2015 however there are still many steps needed to create a sustainable and effective network.

Jessica Tang

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