SkyCycle: elevated bike network in london by foster + partners SkyCycle: elevated bike network in london by foster + partners
jan 02, 2014

SkyCycle: elevated bike network in london by foster + partners

SkyCycle: elevated bike network in london by foster + partners, exterior architecture and space syntax
image courtesy foster + partners




exterior architecture, foster + partners and space syntax have teamed up to develop ‘SkyCycle’, an above-ground bicycle network that will transform cycling in london. following existing suburban railway corridors, a wide, secure deck would be constructed above the trains to create new cycle routes throughout the capital city.


the proposed ‘SkyCycle’ network will follow existing suburban rail services and will provide over 220 kilometers car free bike routes which will provide over 200 entrance points. each route will accommodate 12,000 cyclists per hour, giving almost six million people that live within the proposed skyline developement easy access to the corridor. as london’s railway lines were originally built for steam trains, they follow contours that naturally reduce the amount of energy expended and avoid steep gradients. like the highline in new york, the benefits of the ‘skycycle’ project will regenerate the low value, often underutilized industrial sites next to railway lines; vertically layering the city to create new social spaces and amenities on these cycling high streets, and the integration of automated goods delivery networks.



SkyCycle: a transport icon for london
video courtesy room60



‘cycling is one of my great passions – particularly with a group of friends,’ explains lord foster. ‘I believe that cities where you can walk or cycle, rather than drive, are more congenial places in which to live. to improve the quality of life for all in london and to encourage a new generation of cyclists, we have to make it safe. the greatest barrier to segregating cars and cyclists is the physical constraint of london’s streets, where space is already at a premium. skycycle is a lateral approach to finding space in a congested city. by using the corridors above the suburban railways, we could create a world-class network of safe, car free cycle routes that are ideally located for commuters, ‘ he adds.





‘skycycle is conceived in this tradition as a network of strategic connections from the suburban edges to the centre, adding the much needed capacity for hundreds of millions of cycle journeys every year with all the social, economic, environmental and health benefits to london that follow,’ says anna rose of space syntax. ‘it’s a cycling utopia, with no buses, no cars and no stress’ add sam martin & oli clark of exterior architecture ltd

  • There would be a free flow of undisturbed cyclists, but they will miss one of the quality aspects of cycling, that is the close contact with the city buildings, places and community by the cyclist.

    Archope says:
  • What a wonderful example for the rest of the world .. except is London, with its marginal weather, perhaps the place to arm the critics?


    JimCan says:
  • Actually weather-wise London is close to perfect. It is hardly ever too hot or too cold. Sure, it rains a lot. In other parts of the world (like most of USA) it is so hot in the summer that bicycling requires a change of clothes on arrival. Many of the great cycling cities in the world (Amsterdam, Portland OR) have similiar weather to London.

    John Marshall says:
  • Jim, that option would still exist, this would be an alternative. I’d like to see something that also creates a greenbelt in the process, like a tree lined boulevard with plantings down the midsection.

    on a different note, notice how the Gherkin is right smack center of the rendering?

    dbkii says:
  • There was an elevated Bicycle Way running from Pasadena, California to the downtown area of Los Angeles in 1897.
    It was made of wood and as the following article states “was rudely interrupted by the invention of the automobile”.

    Ron Smith says:
  • It’s a lovely drawing to start off the New Year with, but if there’s snow on the railways, why not on SkyCycle? It seems, as ever, fantasy queens still rule in the world of architecture.

    Gerald Peake says:
  • its a terrifically relevant project with all its ifs there is no speculation when vehicles demand roads but eyebrows turn up for cycles! kundera anyway said slightly long back so to speak that automobiles have killed architecture or rather they occupy the frame alongwith any building worth its salt or not!

    girish says:
  • the sucess of such projects in advanced countries [so to say] is ours not just fosters

    girish says:
  • I am saddened by this image. The sterilisation of a cyclist journey without trees, places to rest, spots to stop and connect is terrible scary. Sorry I hope this not our future.

    Sharyn Kerrigan says:
  • super not-efficient cycle highway…takes a mile to get on and off….or a waiting line in front of an elevator?…nice attempt…when you make airport architecture, it doesn’t mean you can solve all the problems in the world…and Archope is right, where is the connection with the city and buildings…maybe it will go right through the bankers Gherkin?

    chris says:
  • I love it ! And I’m sure I will use it.

    francois says:
  • One more fantastic computer generated pipe dream……..looks great but where is the REAL design? Is it modular? What materials will be used? How can it be constructed with no disruption to those same railways links? Is this the optimum link structure that cyclists need? What surface for the road? How does it interconnect with roadways, those cyclists will always be joining the road network at speed and we all know how the humble driver of the London velocipede in tight lycra and mirrored shades always waits for traffic lights………………………………….

    David says:
  • This is a great oppertunity for cycling and all I see is negative comments. I think it’s worth to cycle up a slope of a mile long. Or wait for an elevator to get on this track. After that it is many miles of save and relax cycling. Enjoying great views of a city. And If you like threes go cycling in the woods! A city the size of London with the bicycle as only personal kind of transportation is the fantasy here. Give people an alternative for their car to go to work. That’s all what this project is about. For the ones who doubt Mr. Foster and his team; Try to look at London as an airport and you understand this project is a smart solution for fitting in a lot of ‘green’-traffic.

    Robin says:
  • When you consider the present costs and pain of getting into London this is brilliant way of reducing commuters and road traffic. Of course it only applies to fit people, and judging by the increasing obesity in our society, not many of those. I wonder who is going to pay for this? Oh, the taxpayer.

    sultony says:
  • a cyclist in stockholm wonders if such an idea could be tried in the foster´s almost real project of rebuilding the city´s main traffic and social point. I would love to try this experiment. after some years, we would let the world know if it worked or not!

    martha says:

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