The Danish architectural firm Dissing+Weitling has drawn an eight-kilometre-long elevated cycle path in the port of Xiamen in the south-eastern part of China. It is not only the first of its kind in China; it is also the world’s longest. Built in record time, the bridge is now complete. The opening will take place during the ongoing Chinese New Year’s celebrations.
Several Chinese and Chinese-oriented media outlets have brought the news of Xiamen’s new elevated cycle service – an addition that is set to make cycling in the city both safer and more fun. In continuation of the new cycle path, Xiamen’s administer wants to put an extra effort into expanding free and green bicycle transportation. An effort that is likely to spread to the rest of the country’s large cities and make the bicycle a safer choice of transportation in China’s populous and most heavily trafficked urban areas.
Safer cycle services for China’s metropolises
Xiamen’s broadest boulevards are reserved for cars and they are highly dangerous for cyclists. The elevated cycle path is therefore an appreciated improvement of the city’s bicycle infrastructure. At a second floor height, the path runs underneath and parallel to an existing railway for public busses.
– When we came and experienced the conditions, it was evident that the cycle path should go under the city’s existing railway. In part because the room for cycle paths at street level is confined, and in part because the elevated cycle path provides cyclists with a more exciting trip with an amazing view over the city, says partner and director at Dissing+Weitling, Steen Savery Trojaborg.
Pulsating urban life at different heights
The eight-kilometre-long cycle path connects to small side bridges with parking for bicycles, service facilities, and access to shopping centres, public institutions, and bus stations at the same height as the cycle path.
– In the densely packed Asian cities, you often experience urban life at different heights. Restaurants and shops are seldom only at the ground floor of skyscrapers, and in compact million cities like Hong Kong and Shanghai, the pulsating skyways often function as entrances to shopping centres and public buildings, says Steen Savery Trojaborg.
Built in record time
In the late summer, Dissing+Weitling initiated the cooperation with the Chinese city and just six months later, the construction of the cycle path was completed:
– It has been an intense cooperation. Just a few weeks after we send the first drawings to Xiamen’s administer, they developed a 90-metres-long 1:1 mock-up. The actual path was built almost as quickly as we were able to send them our drawings, states Steen Savery Trojaborg.
Global inspiration from bicycle solutions in Copenhagen
I connection to the bicycle path in Xiamen, Dissing+Weitling has drawn on their rich experience from work on cycle bridges and super cycle super highways for the City of Copenhagen. In this endeavour, the architects’ chief work has been the award-winning Bicycle Snake that has come to be an icon for Copenhagen as a leading cycle-city and a landmark for the high quality of Copenhagen’s urban areas.
Beside of the completed project in Xiemen, Weitling are currently working on a handful of international projects set to improve the conditions for cyclists in large cities all over the world. Among these projects, there is a cycle solution in California consisting of an 80-kilometre-long super cycle highway. The Danish architectural firm is in charge of planning and designing the many cycle bridges and intersections on the highway. Furthermore, the firm is also making drawings for a long bicycle bridge in Singapore with a beautiful connection over the Kallang River.