BY: JESSICA BEUKER
Last month, Germany opened the first stretch of its new “bike autobahn” cycle route.
The route will eventually cover 100 km, but so far only five km of the route has been completed. The complete tracks are four metres wide and fully segregated from cars.
The highway will be built along abandoned railroad tracks in the Ruhr industrial region. Bridges and overpasses will be used to create a safer ride for cyclists.
Once complete, the route will bring a string of cities within 30-minute cycling distances of each other. It will connect ten western cities including, Duisburg, Bochum and Hamm.
According to CityLab, “these highways should one day cover the entire country, ultimately joining up to form an alternative national network.”
According to Martin Toennes of the regional development group RVR, in an interview with AFP, nearly two million people live within a two-km radius of the highway and will be able to use parts of it for their daily commute. The new track is expected to take 50,000 cars off the roads every day.
The only foreseeable downfall is the cost. The entire highway will cost $273 million CAD, which will, according to CityLab, likely come from municipal and provincial budgets.
While urban centres are being clogged with traffic, and air pollution is becoming a serious threat, the push towards greener transportation is vital.