September 11th, 2011

Walled cities for cyclists

This post follows on from my earlier post, about a "third way" to get cycling happening, in cities that left their run too late, by waiting until mainstream bicycle transport had faded from living memory, before trying, just now, to build some segregated infrastructure. The failures we're seeing suggest it's too late to build segregated bike lanes, without some hitherto unimaginable magic, to open the eyes of the car borne masses. My magical prescription — not blowing my own trumpet at all ;) —  is to densely develop former industrial land lying vacant in our cities, then to use former rail corridors and waterfronts to connect up those brownfields. And I should mention, this parallel city on brownfields, would be walled off to cars.

So here is an image of my city, Newcastle Australia, with the redundant brownfield sites, waters edges and old and existing rail routes highlighted in black. Next is an image of Ancient Athens, when it was a walled city shaped like a dumbbell in plan. The walled road linked the port to the acropolis, the way non-vehicular railtrails and waterfronts could link bicycle oriented developments (BODs) on industrial land earmark for urban renewal. That's all for now. It is Sunday. I will be presenting this idea at the "4th International Urban Design Conference" ten days from now. I'll post a link to the online proceedings when they're available.