Floating bicycle roundabout under construction. Photo credit: Jeroen van Lieshout
25% of all trips in the Netherlands are bike, making bicycling a part of everyday life; it’s a trivial activity that the Dutch don’t think twice about. However, the bicycling nation’s latest piece of innovative infrastructure might even amaze a local Dutchman. The municipality of Eindhoven recently constructed a captivating bicycle roundabout to provide safe, convenient passage by bike… and it just so happens to float above motorized traffic!
Mark Wagenbuur, the influential and award winning video-maker and blogger behind Bicycle Dutch recently documented this incredible piece of infrastructure known as “Hovenring”.
He writes of the infrastructure:
The bright white 70 meters (230Ft) tall bridge pylon can be seen from far away. Attached to the top are 24 cables that suspend a large bicycle roundabout, 72 meters (236Ft) in diameter, that seems to float over a large new junction for motorized traffic…The exceptional piece of bicycle infrastructure was built to stand out. It is to be the iconic new landmark that signals ‘you are entering Eindhoven’. At night the slender bike ring is lit from below to further enhance that floating effect.
Of course, which such a distinctive design, the project didn’t come easily, Wagenbuur notes:
Building such a unique ‘circular bridge’ was more difficult than expected. During construction, early 2012, the cables vibrated much more than they were supposed to in the Dutch winds. Experts recalculated the design specifications and with some modifications and counter weights the cables became much more stable. People questioned why it was necessary to have cyclists go up so high. They feared the gradient of the entrance ramps would be too steep. But the city explained on it’s website that cyclists have to go up less than it seems, because the junction was constructed below surface level. The gradients are different on all sides, but range from just 1.86% to 3.09%.
Naturally, the impressive infrastructure was celebrated once completed
Video credit: Mark Wagenbuur
And once the festivities settled and the roundabout opened for regular use, this video shows how it looks on a daily basis
Video credit: Mark Wagenbuur
Pretty cool, right? Locally, Berkeley’s impressive I-80 bicycle and pedestrian bridge (pictured below) is probably the Bay Area’s crowning piece of infrastructure that comes closest to rivaling such an iconic and innovative investment in bicycling
Berkeley’s impressive bicycle bridge. Photo credit: Jeffrey-Anthony
Elsewhere in Dutch bicycle news, A View From the Cycle Path shares that the city of Groningen has introduced a red carpet for pedestrians to keep sidewalks cleared of the masses of parked bikes; a “problem”, if you can call it that. Check out the video below to see what this red carpet looks like in practice
Video credit: David Hembrow