19 June 2019

Bike Biennale

Say "Biennale" to intellectual snobs like me (We're the kinds of people who tap our index fingers to our chins and say, "Interesting" when we're looking at something we don't quite understand.) and we think of an art exhibition that takes place every two years in Venice--or other exhibitions that have stolen appropriated the name.

Now there's another kind of Biennale--one for bicycle architecture.  Even for someone who's as jaded as I am has as realistic expectations as mine for bicycle infrastructure, it looks like an enlightening (no, I won't say "interesting") exhibit.  And it would be even more enlightening for most of the folks charged with planning and executing bicycle infrastructure in most places.

This Biennale, which opened in Amsterdam (where else?) the other day, features bicycle infrastructure that's recently been built as well as design proposals.  In the former category are two lanes in Limburg, Belgium I'd want to ride because they seem so other-worldly. One slices directly through a pond, so that cyclists are riding at eye level with the water. (I think now of tour buses "parting" the "Red Sea" during the Universal Studios tour.) The other rises as high as 32 feet into the canopy of a forest.  Both of those lanes are intended to entice more people to ride.  

Among the proposals is one that, if built, I would be able to experience regularly.  It would be built on an abandoned rail line in my home borough of Queens.  In its path, an "upside down bridge" would feature a community center at the base, a "floating forest" at each end of the top and bike paths along the side.

I hope that this Biennale will show not only can bike infrastructure be both practical and beautiful, but can be built in places not called Amsterdam or Copenhagen.

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