Is This in Somerville’s Future at Washington and McGrath? A Floating Suspension Bridge That Lets Cyclists Sail Over Car Traffic



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Oh, to be a cyclist in the Netherlands. This steel tensioned deck lets cyclists ride high above a busy multi-lane highway in Eindhoven—one of the most bike-friendly areas in the world.

The roundabout was completed last year, but it’s back in the news after it was nominated for a Dutch Design Award this month. It’s is a simple solution to a complicated planning problem: How to protect cyclists from a complicated four-way traffic roundabout. IPV Delft, the firm behind the project, describes it as a “floating saucer.”

The deck itself is suspended from cables that span from a 210-foot-tall steel pylon, in the center. The cable-stayed design was a bit of an experiment—and, ultimately, it actually had to be modified because it vibrated in the wind. Now, it’s used by thousands of cyclists a week in commuter-heavy Eindhoven.

Whether or not we should try to segregate cars and bikes is a major point of contention amongst cycling advocates. On the one hand, separating bikes from car traffic is far safer and easier for everyone in the immediate sense. But some planners argue that it leads to a more insidious effect: That neither drivers nor bikers have enough experience with each other. As a result, when they do end up crossing paths, it’s far more dangerous since neither faction is used to dealing with the other.

That’s another debate for another time. And in this case, the Hovenring is a real solution to an un-bikeable piece of urban infrastructure. But it’s worth point out that as cyclists colonize more and more cities, the debate over how to adapt our roads is only going to intensify. [Neatorama; Reddit]

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