Inserting a slither of Holland, in a non-cycling city

Copenhaganizing cities where no one living recalls bicycling ever being a mainstream mode of transport, has proven a failure. Short of sending every driver back to be license tested, and at the same time installing segregated infrastructure everywhere, all in one hit, waiting for change will be like waiting for Christ’s second coming, and of appeal only to those, who, like the religious, enjoy persecution.

It will be decades before the parts of my city, that cars have stolen, become safe places where I can pursue a safe life riding my bike, with my kids riding beside me. Unless I move to Holland or Denmark, that kind of life is a pipe-dream. But there is an alternative network of space in my city, where we can conceivably build a slither of Holland. What I’m about to describe, could be achieved in almost any former industrial city.

It involves resurrecting the industrial rail routes, industrial rail infrastructure, and the waterways, that were here first but which have been buried by road networks built to please voters who drive.

These built-over networks are all still down there, and can all be revived. I’m imagining elegant, perhaps even nostalgic, overhead structures, at least as elegant as the ones pictured above. Along with paved trails and some bike-first on-grade crossings at roads, they will be the backbone of an alternative city, for people who would rather cycle than drive. Now come for a little ride about Newcastle, and let Angus and I show you this plan.


  1. Anonymous says:

    Some great ideas here, I love the idea of an overhead cycling pathway. For the steep uphill section, I have always liked the idea of a ski-type lift, the type where you hang onto a curved piece of plastic which fits under your arm, stay on your bike and get pulled up the hill.

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