Despite the fact that they offer innumerable benefits, from reduced traffic congestion to less smog to a healthier population, serious urban bike path initiatives rarely make it from concept art to concrete use. The elevated skyways and dedicated, LED-lit bike lanes look great in design firm mock-ups. Yet these pieces of eye candy are seldom implemented by serviceable city governments under pressure from oil and gas lobbies as well as taxpayers looking to pinch pennies.

In London, however, a new, far-fetched proposal is beginning to look distinctly feasible. The Thames Deckway, pictured above, would track the south bank of the river between Canary Wharf and Battersea, stretching across the city with the Millennium Bridge functioning as its midpoint. The bridge is the product of an impressive collection of movers and shakers in urban design: famed architect David Nixon and artist Anna Hill, along with engineering firm Arup (which helped construct the Sydney Opera House), are all putting their full momentum behind the project.


The team has released a considerable amount of detail about the Deckway, including its estimated cost (£600 million, or roughly $965 million), the number of cyclists it would accommodate (12,000 per hour) and the time it would save a commuter biking across the city (30 minutes). Moreover, the bikeway would drift atop the river, rising and falling with the tides and using tidal and wind energy to power on-deck lighting.

If approved, the proposal could do much to relieve London of its transportation woes, which will only increase as the city grows an estimated 12% over the next decade. While several bike path proposals have been floated for UK’s capital, none have quite the creative edge and practical utility of the Deckway. Its considerable price tag and novel design are certainly impediments moving forward; nevertheless, with savvy political maneuvering and public will, we may all be biking the Thames in as little as two years.

Source: Urbanful
November 5, 2014
By John Benjamin, Images courtesy of Wonderful Engineering.