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Crowdfunding underway for a floating cycle highway on the Thames

by Jak Phillips | 09 Nov 2015

A crowdfunding campaign has been launched to harness the “huge transportation capacity” of London’s Thames River to create a floating cycle highway running through the heart of the congested city.

The team behind the Thames Deckway - a 7-mile (11km) stretch of cycle path that would float alongside the banks of London’s famed river - are aiming to raise £175,000 (€245,000, US$264,000) on IndieGogo to pay for a feasibility study to reinforce the business case for the project.

Thames Deckway is a concept proposed by River Cycleway Consortium, which is led by architect David Nixon and environmental entrepreneur Anna Hill, in conjunction with Arup and David Broughton Architects. Running from Battersea to Canary Wharf, the waterside cycle path would decrease journey times by up to 30 minutes, the consortium predicted.

One of the downsides of the seven miles of floating decking, which would potentially have to carry thousands of commuting cyclists, would be its prohibitive costs. At an estimated £600m (€755m, US$955m), the consortium suggested off-setting the costs by charging cyclists £1.50 (€1.80, US$2.40) per journey. A single Tube journey, by comparison, is currently £4.70 (€5.90, US$7.50).

A statement on the project's crowdfunding website says: "The Thames Deckway is a high-impact social and environmental enterprise that requires citizen engagement and support.

"We believe it can be built without any public financing. For this to succeed, we need your crowdfunding support to complete some vital steps."

Keeping cyclists safe on the roads has become an increasingly important matter as the number of commuters and leisure riders taking to two wheels has soared in recent years, reaching 582,000 cycle trips per day in 2012 according to Transport for London (TfL) figures. That figure signifies an 80.1 per cent increase in daily cycle trips since 2002.

The deckway would host its own bicycle fleet offering infant carriages, child bicycles, tandems and tricycles while traffic density and flow would be monitored by satellite. According to the crowdfunding page, the Deckway would draw all its energy from combined solar, wind and tidal sources to power its communications, sensing, monitoring and lighting systems. The developers say the exposed nature of the river to wind and sun and its five-knot tidal ebb and flow makes this possible, adding that when power generation drops, the Deckway's systems will run off batteries below the decks.

If the project gets the go-ahead it is thought the deckway could be built within two years, with an opening date slated for June 2023.

Active design has been a hot topic in recent months, especially in light of new research which found cities which strive to promote physical activity gain a significant economic advantage. A study from cycling charity Sustrans, meanwhile, found that the UK’s National Cycle Network has saved the economy more than £7bn since it was established 20 years ago.

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A crowdfunding campaign has been launched to harness the “huge transportation capacity” of London’s Thames River to create a floating cycle highway running through the heart of the congested city. The team behind the Thames Deckway - a 7-mile (11km) stretch of cycle path that would float alongside the banks of London’s famed river - are aiming to raise £175,000 (€245,000, US$264,000) on IndieGogo to pay for a feasibility study
CLD,HAF,FIT,IND,PRO,ARC,DES,DEV
The proposed floating bikeway would take cyclists past famous London landmarks like City Hall and the Shard / Thames Deckway
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