Cobblestone Addiction -a not so smooth ride in Copenhagen

30 OCTOBER 2012

Source: Copenhagenize

A Bicycle Infrastructure Photo Odyssey

The 4.4 km route. Though it’s likely the most expensive bicycle route in Copenhagen. You have to stop for crossing car traffic every 300-400 metres. There is one bike bridge, deemed necessary because an extra light-regulated intersection would have been needed on the largest in-road to Copenhagen – which would have delayed the precious cars too much.

There’s nothing like smooth, new asphalt and, for some reason, I always admire when the city makes smooth transitions at intersections between our often slightly-elevated bike paths and the ordinary road. This makes me so ever more dumbfounded why city planners manically and generously use cobblestone and curbstones to ruin my bike path.

Using natural stones on paths and streets increases per meter cost, both in the initial ground works as well as cost of future maintenance and renovation. Furthermore, cobblestone tends to be very slippery in the autumn and winther, and more difficult to keep free of ice.

I recently asked a city planner why they exchanged a white painted line for segregation between car parking and the bike lane, with a line of cobblestone. “For aesthetic reasons,” he replied.

Well, yes, perhaps, but maybe also to make it easier park your car at night, I was tempted to respond.

The pictures in this series are all from a stretch of 4.4 km along what’s known as The Green Route – a bike path laid out mostly in a park which used to be an old freight train tracé thru Nørrebro. And this route really is otherwise a great route. A long park rich with city space programming for all ages, including a mile calledSuperkilen filled with street equipment from all over the world to celebrate the ethnic diversity in this part of the city. Further along there are dog playgrounds, hideaways for alcoholics, urban farming projects and a complete outdoor gym.

I should warn you that this blog post is repetitive beyond what is reasonable, but its the only way I could figure out how to show how ridiculously stupid this practice of using cobblestones is.