Melbourne, Australia, is the latest to experience a push for elevated bike highways, with a consortium of architectural and engineering firms advocating the Veloway as a means of improving safety for cyclists, while also creating a vital transport link across the city.
Promoted as a way of circumnavigating chaotic city traffic, raised paths dedicated to pedal-powered two-wheelers are gaining traction in various cities around the world. In the works for more than two years, the proposal for Melbourne's Veloway involves a route measuring 1.7 km (1.1 mi) in length that would run from Southern Cross railway station in the city's west, to Flinders Street Station on the southern fringe of the CBD.
With the rail between the stations already supported by a viaduct, the Veloway would be tacked onto its side, providing a route for cyclists that would keep them separated from the cars, trams and foot traffic on the ground below. Constructed using lightweight composite plastic, the structure would also feature wind deflectors and solar-powered lighting.
With populations of many cities set to explode, planners, architects and lobby groups are looking to the sky to inspire new ways of transportation. While some are further along than others, there are similar proposals in place for cities such as London, Toronto and Auckland. Meanwhile, residents of Copenhagen have been pedaling along the Cykelslangen for a little over a month now.
It is estimated Melbourne's Veloway could cost up to AU$25 million (around US$23 million). The consortium is now looking to obtain $480,000 from the Melbourne City Council and Victorian State Government to conduct a full feasibility study.