Cykelslangen in Copenhagen

Copenhagen has just completed its Bicycle Snake Bridge (Cykelslangen). It is an amazing piece of engineering and design which really adds to the beauty of what is already a very picturesque city.

For me, being there gave me a sense of what Auckland could have been had the city taken a different approach to transport. It has a beautiful harbour and clean crisp air, not that common in Europe.

Copenhagen harbour - Yes, it really is that picturesque
Copenhagen harbour – Yes, it really is that picturesque

What it doesnt have are huge motorways right through its heart. I was there in Summer, when the city is traditionally quiet, but the traffic was calm and often the only sound was the tinkling of bicycle bells. The Danish appeared annoyingly happy, healthy and attractive living up to their reputation as the happiest people on Earth.

Infrastructure like the Cykelslangen and the equally stunning Hovenring floating cycling roundabout in Eindhoven, the Netherlands does give an answer to the question, “is it all about the money?” Well yes, it is really.

It is undeniable that Auckland has a problem finding space on our roads for bicycles, cars and buses. However, if we had the resources available, there is no doubt that innovative engineers could find solutions to any problem.

You will see from the article above that the Hovenring cost 20m Euro (around NZ$30m). Now this is obviously a large amount but when you see the quality of what was achieved and reflect on what $30m buys in the way of infrastructure for motor vehicles (not much), this is a bargain.

Alphen aan den Rijn, Netherlands: the Fietsappel or Bicycle Apple. This bike parking facility has the shape and the colour of a huge apple and in it you can find racks to park a little under a 1,000 bicycles (2.53m Euro).

For example, what could a clever Dutch engineer come up with as an option for getting cyclists from the K’ Road area down on to the unused Nelson Street off ramp or from the Grafton Gully cycleway on to Symonds Street? Right now these are problems that are being grappled with by AT/NZTA engineers.

Yet another reason why the government needs to increase the cycling budget and make cycling a real alternative for New Zealanders. Don’t forget to show your support for the campaign.

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