Post-cycle urbanism


I’ve been using a lot more of the cycle superhighway network of late. There’s more of it, but also my routes have changed recently with new work in new places. It’s spectacular.

Cyclists waiting at the Superhighway lights
Image borrowed from London Cyclist

One of the things I love is how it seems to have changed the behaviour of morning cyclists. As a group, we’ve always been accused of running red lights, zebra crossings and so on. But I feel (completely un-scientifically) that there is a huge reduction in this kind of behaviour on the superhighways. Maybe in the context of a space designed for cars, people felt they had more leeway to create their own rules in order to survive on the roads. Now the context is reserved for bikes, this isn’t necessary. What do you think?

Anyway, the main observation I wanted to make is what impact the superhighways, and cycling in general, are having on our urban realm.

View from high-up showing the mix of cars, bikes and pedestrians.

Showing an intricate bike junction at Blackfriars

These are just the images from consultations, but I’d say they’re pretty reflective of the atmosphere when I’ve used these junctions. They’re unrecognisable from the chaotic, loud, diesel-filled melees they were just a few years ago. And more and more offices I am sent to work in are designed around cyclists, with storage, wider entrances, showers and changing facilities.

London Cycle Superhighway

If all this is just because we’re finally adopting the bicycle as a legitimate form of transport, what can we expect to happen if we move towards networked or on-demand vehicles, or quieter vehicles? I wrote about a quiet street before, but now that I’m starting to appreciate the changes brought about by the cycle superhighway, I’m excited about what happens next to our street-level architecture, and how it affects our behaviour in ways we can’t imagine yet.


UPDATE: There’s some science just announced in The Guardian that gives some hints about slower-moving spaces creating a ‘Happy City’.

Posted in Architecture, Clueless Punditry, Connected Car, Travel
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