A group of architects, engineers, and artists proposed a novel way of creating protected bike lanes in traffic-clogged London: a floating bike highway along the Thames. The path, called the Thames Deckway, would run east-west along the river’s southern bank for about seven miles, from Battersea to Canary Wharf.
"London needs to think outside the box of conventional solutions to solve its deep-seated traffic and pollution problems, the River Cycleway Consortium said in a statement announcing the proposal. "The river Thames, London’s main transportation thoroughfare from Roman times up to the 19th century, is overlooked today as a major travel artery except for a handful of passenger boats."
The route will float with the tides
Designers will have to find a way around moorings, Cycling Weekly points out, including the HMS Belfast, a battleship-turned-museum. Storms and waves would also be an issue. The route will float with the tides, and satellites and on-board sensors will monitor inclement weather and notify riders. According to the consortium, the path will generate its own energy through a combination of solar, tidal, and wind power. The biggest obstacle, however, is likely the cost: 600 million pounds, or $960 million.
London has been trying to encourage cycling as a way of relieving traffic congestion for several years. Last month, Mayor Boris Johnson, a famously enthusiastic cyclist, announced a plan for an 18-mile protected east-west bike lane, due to open in March 2016. According to Johnson, bikes already make up 24 percent of the city’s rush-hour traffic.
The Deckway proposal is in its very early stages. The consortium, which was founded by architect David Nixon and artist Anna Hill and includes the engineering company Arup and Hugh Broughton Architects, says it’s currently trying to raise money for a feasibility study. After that, it says the construction costs could be paid by private investors, who could then sell tickets to the cycleway.