As It Happens

London design firm wants to turn abandoned Tube lines into cycle paths

Is the future of urban cycling underground? A UK design firm says it wants to create an underground cycling utopia by converting old London Tube lines into bike paths....

Is the future of urban cycling underground? A UK design firm says it wants to create an underground cycling utopia by converting old London Tube lines into bike paths.


This week, the design firm Gensler won a London Planning Award for their concept called The London Underline. The firm's co-director Ian Mulcahey tells As It Happens co-host Carol Off, "The beauty of the subterranean cycle way is in a normal city it would be very, very tough to build, but if you've got the tunnel already there, it means you could actually move very quickly across the city."

The plan would connect 2.5km of existing Tube stations to a long bike and pedestrian corridor -- which would also include shops and art installations. Users could rent bikes at one end, and drop them off at the end of their journey.

Here's a map of the first section of the plan:


cyclemapweb.jpg


The plan hasn't been without its sceptics. In the Guardian newspaper, Feargus O'Sullivan wrote, "It might look like fun for some, but the underline is about as practical a way of clearing the roads as buying every Londoner their own miniature Zeppelin."

You can judge for yourself. Here's another rendering of one of the proposed converted Underground lines:


Cycle2.jpg


The concept also includes a kinetic energy system that would convert footsteps into electricity to light the paths. The following slide imagines the amount of power that could be generated using the system:


underlineWEB.jpg 

Here is a video of the London Underline:


   

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