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SkyCycle (proposed transport project)

The developers' architectural rendering of part of the SkyCycle network

SkyCycle was a proposed transport infrastructure project for London of a 219-kilometre (136 mi) network of elevated cycle paths above train tracks.[1][2][3] The routes would have had a width of up to 15 metres (49 ft), and be accessed by over 200 ramps throughout the city,[3] subject to a toll of £1.[4] The developers of the project estimated that the cycle paths would accommodate 400,000 riders during rush hour and shave 30 minutes off current travel time.[5] If the project became a reality, its construction was estimated to take over 20 years.[5] The project was the creation of landscape architects Exterior Architecture and Space Syntax, with whom Norman Foster of Foster and Partners had been working since 2012.[6] The proposals were welcomed by Network Rail.[7]



The idea for the project originated in 2011 with Sam Martin, the director of Exterior Architecture, and his employee Oli Clark. Clark had proposed a network of elevated cycle routes around Battersea Power Station for his student dissertation.[8] Following email communication with the office of the Mayor of London, Boris Johnson, Clark and Martin had a meeting with Isabel Dedring, the Deputy Mayor for Transport, incidentally encountering Johnson himself on their way to it, who was enthusiastic upon being told about the project. Dedring then arranged meetings with Dave Ward, the executive director of Network Rail. Dedring and Ward suggested that the group design an initial phase of the network, following the 6.5-kilometre (4.0 mi) route of the Great Eastern Main Line between Stratford station and Liverpool Street station. Martin approached Foster and Partners for planning assistance.[9] The group estimated the cost of the first phase as £220 million,[3] and the cost of the entire project between £7 and 8 billion.[10] In October 2012, the proposal was rejected by Johnson, following a meeting of representatives of Network Rail and Transport for London, who had expressed concerns that estimated costs for the project had not been fully worked out and that London did not have sufficient railway capacity to build on.[11] In 2014 the developers were said to be seeking funds for a feasibility study.[3]


The cycling charity CTC expressed concern over the wind exposure that riders would face when using SkyCycle, as well as the steepness of the ramps.[12] Wired called the project "amazing".[13] ArchDaily said the project would divert resources away from more important projects and have some negative consequences.[14] BBC News called it a "radical solution to protect cyclists".[15]

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ Room60 (8 June 2012), SkyCycle: a transport icon for London, retrieved 9 March 2017
  2. ^ "Wheels in the sky: Artist's impression gives stunning vision of Boris' planned elevated London bike network". Daily Mail Online. Retrieved 9 March 2017.
  3. ^ a b c d Wainwright, Oliver (2 January 2014). "Norman Foster unveils plans for elevated 'SkyCycle' bike routes in London". The Guardian. Retrieved 8 February 2014.
  4. ^ Davies, Alex (7 September 2012). "London Could Spend Tens Of Millions On Bike Highways In The Sky". Business Insider. Retrieved 8 February 2014.
  5. ^ a b Gander, Kashmira (30 December 2013). "Plans for 136-mile 'SkyCycle' highways above London's rail lines to be put forward for consultation". The Independent. Retrieved 8 February 2014.
  6. ^ "Plans for 'cycle utopia' above London's rail lines". BBC News. 30 December 2013. Retrieved 8 February 2014.
  7. ^ Relaxnews (4 January 2014). "SkyCycle, London's Bike Highway Proposal, Could Revolutionize Cycling". Huffington Post. Retrieved 8 February 2014.
  8. ^ Smith, Ed (22 September 2012). "'Cycle lanes in the sky' answer to traffic danger". The Times. Retrieved 8 February 2014.
  9. ^ Winston, Anna (8 January 2014). "SkyCycle: What it takes to turn an architecture student's idea into a major infrastructure proposal". BD Online. Retrieved 8 February 2014.
  10. ^ Martin, Sam (14 November 2014). "'A Divergent City'". Architecture IO. Retrieved 26 January 2014.
  11. ^ Beard, Matthew (25 October 2012). "Lack of railway space rules out 'cycle paths in the sky' turned down by Mayor". The Evening Standard. Retrieved 8 February 2014.
  12. ^ Wynick, Alex (30 December 2013). "Cycle highway could see cyclists peddling ABOVE London trains on £220m routes". The Mirror. Retrieved 8 February 2014.
  13. ^ Lavrinc, Damon (3 January 2014). "A 137-Mile 'Cycling Utopia' Floating Above London's Rail Lines". Wired. Retrieved 8 February 2014.
  14. ^ Thayne, Julia (23 January 2014). "Why The Skycycle Would Never Work". ArchDaily. Retrieved 8 February 2014.
  15. ^ Judah, Sam (20 November 2013). "8 radical solutions to protect cyclists". BBC News. Retrieved 8 February 2014.

External linksEdit