'World's longest' cycle skyway promotes green transport and active lifestyles in Xiamen, China

Danish architecture practice Dissing+Weitling have designed a 7.6km (4.7 miles) elevated bicycle route – billed as “the longest in the world” – in the heart of the Chinese city Xiamen.

The ‘cycling skyway’ has been built in order to decrease traffic congestion and promote greener and more sustainable forms of transportation, as well as more active and healthy lifestyles. It was designed and completed in only six months.

The route is elevated 5m (16.4ft) above the road, just below the Xiamen’s bus rapid transit line, and crosses five major residential areas and three business zones. Eleven entry and exit points allow access to public transportation, shopping malls and public buildings. The width of the skyway, 4.8m (15.7ft), allows cyclists to travel alongside each other and prevents congestion.

“As in most Chinese cities, Xiamen’s infrastructure is solely focused on cars and buses, which makes it very difficult and hazardous to bicycle along the city’s main arterial routes,” said the studio in a statement. “The vision for the new skyway is to inspire people to prioritise the green alternative, the bicycle, instead of the car.

“The record breaking bike lane is operated by the Xiamen City Public Bicycle Management Company and now ready for use by the city’s 3.5 million citizens.”

Dissing+Weitling collaborated with local firms CSCEC Steel Structure and JSTI Engineering on the project.

The studio’s CEO, Steen Savery Trojaborg, told CLAD: “There was a pronounced need for something of this magnitude. A safe bike path that gives its users a joyful experience of overlooking the city was an obvious way to facilitate mobility and relieve infrastructural tension in this particular area of the city while at the same time promoting cycling.

“We took much care in designing the alignments, the gradients and the radii of the curvatures, so that the route fits with the bike riders physical abilities and is comfortable to use.

“The skyway is a unique answer to an existing infrastructural challenge. It creates an easy, safe and fun way of getting around the city by bike.”

The architects have designed elevated bicycle lanes across the world, including Copenhagen’s famous 230m long ‘Bicycle Snake,’ which opened in 2014. They are developing similar projects in Singapore and California.

“We believe these skyways will not be the last of its kind, but it’s important to stress that they’re particular site-specific solutions to particular site-specific challenges,” said Trojaborg. “They’re not an attempt to establish a wider system of elevated bicycle routes or to always separate cyclists from the ground level. Wherever it’s practically possible, bicycles should preferably be an integrated part of the existing urban landscape.

‘We just want to see clever urban planning that reduces tense and potentially hazardous infrastructural situations and creates positive urban side effects.”

Cycle skyway  Xiamen  China  Dissing+Weitling  design  architecture  health  fitness 
Danish architecture practice Dissing+Weitling have designed a 7.6km (4.7 miles) elevated bicycle route – billed as “the longest in the world” – in the heart of the Chinese city Xiamen. The ‘cycling skyway’ has been built in order to decrease traffic congestion and promote greener and more sustainable forms of transportation, as well as more active and healthy lifestyles. It was designed and completed in only six months. The route
The skyway offers a greener way of travelling for Xiamen's citizens / Ma Weiwei
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