Biking infrastructure is all over the place right now. In certain cities, it's thriving. Other cities have to pay their residents to bike to work. And across the globe, bike commuters are dying in record numbers.
Without proper lanes, promenades and traffic lights, cities attempting to mimic cycling havens like Copenhagen or Amsterdam aren't up to the task. One issue in creating that infrastructure: there's simply too much competing infrastructure already in the way. Too many cars on the road, too much urban sprawl. The current situation is inefficient, a solution would be expensive, and in the meantime it's all a little dangerous.
This provides some context for recent rumblings out of Colorado, where proposals for a car-free, bike-friendly, mini-metropolis are gaining steam. Instead of working around ineffective existing infrastructure in colossal cities with outdated zoning requirements, why not start a brand new one from the ground up? A rich Canadian blogger named Pete Adeney, who retired at 30 and routinely writes on healthier, frugal living, has teamed with a Dutch design company called B4place, with hopes to create a city a half-hour north of Denver called Cyclocroft.
That name makes it sound like a futuristic command center, but this city will have two feet planted firmly in the past. Just one square mile, it takes its cue from old European models: three- to nine-story buildings on small, brick-lined streets. The "downtown" will have retail, apartments and offices, with buildings between 10 and 40 stories high. The population capacity is 50,000 (that's 80 people per acre) and all throughout will be bikes, scooters, e-bikes, e-scooters ... you get it.
Cars will be barred from the center of the city by retractable bollards, but will be able to circumnavigate the outside of the city on a 10-15-MPH ring. There will be underground garages on the outskirts, and areas for delivery trucks to unload goods, where a local delivery service can pick up products and perform "last mile" duties. B4place has even thought of trash pick-up, with plans to borrow from a Dutch underground trash receptable design.
The idea here goes beyond bikes and cars, of course. It's all about compact city living — a sustainable model for a town that has no plans to continue growing. Some might hear the plan and scoff. At surface level, it is a bit of reminiscent of those goofy tech campuses in Palo Alto. Or a cult commune. Or ... Epcot. But there's nothing so radical or strange about planning a town from scratch. It just doesn't happen too often in 2019. This design can take from proven bastions of urban design, but implement crucial improvements. Like building with entirely fire-proof materials. And just think about the natural improvements in physical and mental health for inhabitants who walk all the time and actually converse with their neighbors.
Only issue we can detect — once established, how does this place avoid the Venice treatment? Talk about a tourist destination.
For more information on the proposal, head here.
Main image via Unsplash