Numbered highways come to bicycle superhighways in some cities

Bicycle superhighways, bikeways with wide lanes and no or few stops, allow for higher spends and smoother rides than regular bikeways.

Grand opening of northern bicycle superhighway 28 September 2017 in Helsinki

 A northern bicycle superhighway ­running along the main railway racks is now open to cyclists. Called Pohjoisbaana in Finnish, the bikeway connects southern and northern cycling routes in Helsinki. It is part of the network of bicycle superhighways, that is, bikeways with wide lanes and no or few stops, allowing for higher spends and smoother rides than regular bikeways.

The City of Helsinki celebrates the new bicycle superhighway with a grand opening of the bikeway and the autumn cycling season on Thursday, 28 September 2017, 16:00–19:00.

The planning of the new bicycle superhighway started in April 2015 and construction went underway in August 2016. The construction process was demanding for many reasons including restrictions caused by the adjacent railway tracks and nearby housing. The northern bicycle superhighway was opened to cyclists on 31 August 2017.

A cyclist is king on a bicycle superhighway

“The City of Helsinki has set for itself the ambitious goal of raising the share of cycling of all journeys in the city to 15 percent by 2020,” says Jukka Repo, the director of the northern bicycle superhighway project at the City’s Urban Environment Division. “A network of bicycle superhighways including the new northern section plays an important role in the overall development of urban mobility in Helsinki. The goal of the network is to make cycling easier and a more attractive alternative for increasingly long journeys, in order that the City can achieve its goals in cycling.”

The network of bicycle superhighways is under construction. Once complete, Helsinki will have 130 kilometres of bicycle superhighways connecting the main residential and workplace areas. To make cycling as smooth as possible, these bikeways are as straight and flat as possible. Rides are also facilitated by minimizing stops, with high-quality under- and overpasses, and with good intersection design.

Special attention is paid to the lighting and winter maintenance of bicycle superhighways.

The grand opening marks the beginning of the autumn cycling season

The main users of the northern bicycle superhighway are long-distance cyclists and local residents. The opening event is targeted especially at those users,” says Niklas Aalto-Setälä, a cycling coordinator at the Urban Environment Division.

The opening event’s programme includes a bicycle procession organized in cooperation with Helsinki Cyclists, a ribbon cutting ceremony, speeches and partners’ presentations at booths.

“I hope that as many people as possible will come and enjoy a pleasant evening with us,” Aalto-Setälä says.

The northern bicycle superhighway was designed by Ramboll Finland Oy, and the construction contractor was Destia Oy.

The grand opening of the northern bicycle superhighway and the autumn cycling season will be held at the Pasila end of the bikeway on Thursday, 28 September 2017, 16:00–19:00. The event is open for all and free of charge.