Foster unveils £220m SkyCycle plans for London

by Chris Dodd | 10 Jan 2014

Plans have been unveiled for a progressive SkyCycle network, designed to give cyclists a dedicated commuter route, as its developers seek to transform cycle transport in London.

Designed by Norman Foster + Partners with Exterior Architecture and Space Syntax, the 135-mile network of routes is planned for construction above existing suburban railway lines.

The plans come in the wake of a number of deaths of cyclists experienced on the capital’s roads, with the project’s proposers also seeking to improve journey times and decrease congestion, as London looks to manage population growth of 12 per cent in the next decade.

The first four-mile stretch of the route would potentially run from east London through to Liverpool Street at a cost of £220m, while nine other routes are also proposed along the elevated network.

The project’s developers believe that the SkyCycle will provide over 220 kilometers of car-free cycle space, which will incorporate over 200 entrance points for cyclists.

It is believed that each route could accommodate for 12,000 cyclists each hour, with the network providing easy access to the cycling corridor for 5.8 million people living within the network’s vicinity.

The proposals also suggest that cycling times could be reduced by as much as 29 minutes, as the routes spread over an area of 20-foot wide decks and follow natural contours, which help to reduce energy expenditure.

"Cycling is one of my great passions – particularly with a group of friends. And I believe that cities where you can walk or cycle, rather than drive, are more congenial places in which to live,” said Foster.

“To improve the quality of life for all in London and to encourage a new generation of cyclists, we have to make it safe.

“However, 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.”

The idea of the network has also spurred creative thinking about the space surrounding the potential route, with comparisons being made to the use of commercial and entrepreneurial ventures implemented into similar sites, such as those featured in the environs of New York’s highline.

Developments around the SkyCycle could make for efficient use of disused industrial spaces in order to create communities of commercial and social enterprises for the benefit of both commuters and Londoners at large.

A video exploring the SkyCycle proposal can be viewed here.

Plans have been unveiled for a progressive SkyCycle network, designed to give cyclists a dedicated commuter route, as its developers seek to transform cycle transport in London. Designed by Norman Foster + Partners with Exterior Architecture and Space Syntax, the 135-mile network of routes is planned for construction above existing suburban railway lines. The plans come in the wake of a number of deaths of cyclists experienced on the capital’s
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The proposed 135-mile network of routes would take 20 years to build / Foster + Partners
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