Cyclelogistics + Housing = Activation of Lonely Bike Routes

Guys and gals, it has occurred to that:

1. most cities have a few lonely cycleways running through logistics land. I’m thinking in particular of a cycleway that I used to ride every day, wedged between a canal and the backside of some huge warehouses. A scary place late at night.

2. depending on the priority given to bike routes, and degrees of pedestrianization, in some cities it is cheaper and quicker to transport goods from logistics land to CBDs by cyclelogistics, than using vans.

(Stay with me, I know this is challenging).


3. A lot of people using bikes for their transport struggle with housing affordability, don’t need to live near a train station, and would make pretty cool neighbours for those of us who can afford to live where choose. (Hmm, craft beer joints downstairs from my home: I would like that!)

Now think of a warehouse near some lonely bike route. What if there were apartments upstairs? The hipsters, bike couriers, and you and me, could all be living up there, and populating that lonely bike route so it isn’t so eery at night. Our apartment complex would have a podium base used for warehousing, with that craft beer joint I just mentioned opening onto the cycleway (or “activating” it, as our place-making friends like to say).


I had this brainwave last night after an email exchange with David from BIKESydney. I was asking if he knew any under utilised greyfield sites near existing or planned cycleways around Sydney. Rebecca Short and I have been looking for such a site as a test bed, to fly some ideas.  David drew our attention to Alexandria Canal, just North of the Airport, and right on the Sydney Green Ring. His only reservation was the lack of other attractions. But attractions are the last thing you want when choosing a development site. They push up the land price and compete with the attractions you will be building.

So what do you think? A lot of people I speak to in Sydney are serious about opting in to a new model of living. There’s even talk of gathering a consortium of other visionaries—bike transport believers looking for an affordable but very funky address in this overpriced and poorly planned city. We could use a web service like Citiniche to manage the funds. There are architectural firms we can team up with in Sydney who supported my last book and who will work with us, not against us, in achieving the vision. Oh, and all the apartments will be arranged so we can ride out of our kitchens and be on the cycleway in about 20 seconds.

Marble run meets Robinhood Gardens