Overground, underground, cycling free. Stick with us on this.
London has a growing congestion problem. With more traffic taking to the city's tightly packed streets and swelling numbers of cyclists adding tension to the mix, planners and designers have come up with a range of elegant-if-expensive solutions, from elevated cycle paths in the sky, to floating pathways along the Thames. The latest proposal to gain murmurs of approval sees bikes heading in the opposite direction - underground.
Design firm Gensler would have cyclists and pedestrians take a leaf out of the subterranean habits of the Wombles (see?), reducing congestion in key parts of central London by moving bikes onto underground paths running along disused tube lines.
Dubbed the London Underline, Gensler's novel idea - which would also see shops and cafés run alongside the cycle paths - was recognised with the Best Conceptual Project award at this year's London Planning Awards.
While the proposal may fill your mind with a vast network of underground byways, the reality is that there's not much room below London's pavements. At present, the Underline would make use of a disused stretch of tunnel between Holborn and an abandoned station in Aldwych, with a second stretch running along a former section of the Jubilee line between Green Park and Charing Cross.
To fund the project, Gensler believes that named sponsorship of the paths could generate income, similar to the Emirates Air Line cable car. Kinetic energy would also be collected from the footfall of pedestrians, making the tunnels carbon neutral.
Think it would work? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below. We're still in favour of installing ziplines from every building over five stories high. We're still waiting for feedback from TFL...
[Via: The Guardian]