From an aerial cycleway in Xiamen, China, to London’s $1 billion investment in cycling infrastructure, cities around the world are investing big in bikes, which could one day surpass cars, if not already. Berlin, with its own plan to install at least a dozen new bike superhighways, hopes to join the ranks of cycling capitals like Copenhagen and Amsterdam.
The city’s current bike network faces a number of issues, including limited space and inadequate separation from cars and pedestrians. But as first reported by CityLab, the recent approval of some 13 bicycle superhighways will help the city get up to speed.
The approved superhighway lanes, which will likely be longer than five kilometers (3.1 miles), are extremely accommodating to cyclists: They will be at least 13 feet wide—or just under 10 feet wide in one-way tracks to allow for safe overtaking. They will also completely separate cyclists from cars and pedestrians, so they can ride quickly and safely.
While the location of these superhighways have yet to be determined, there are several possibilities. Berlin has several abandoned railway tracks that travel between city outskirts and the city center, and could be repurposed as green transportation paths. The city’s elevated subway also offers space underneath to accommodate bike lanes, though there is a potential problem of bikers crashing into subway users as they exit.
A city-wide referendum last year calling for more bike funding attracted over 100,000 signatures and at least two of the planned superhighways are slated to begin construction by the end of this year.