Cobblestone Addiction -a not so smooth ride in Copenhagen

A Bicycle Infrastructure Photo Odyssey
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 called Superkilen 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.

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.

All new bike path, actually built at the expense of some parking spaces. Great work, Copenhagen, but why does the connection to the street need a curbstone, instead of asphalt meeting asphalt? – Rovsingsgade, Østerbro, Copenhagen 

A reserve between the intersection on Tagensvej and the bike path, of course cobblestone is needed. – Rovsingsgade/Tagensvej, Nørrebro, Copenhagen

Same place, after crossing the bike Path on Tagensvej, entering the Green Route -Plenty of cobblestone is needed. – Rovsingsgade/Tagensvej, Nørrebro, Copenhagen

Rovsingsgade/Tagensvej seen from opposite angle. Also notice, how right of way has been designed so irresponsibly, that bicyclists can be trapped in the extremely busy intersection, after lights has changed, yet it is impossible to predict when bicyclists enter the intersection as crossing traffic waiting fro red, will block the view of crossing cyclists.

The cobblestone might actually serve some purpose here, to let the bicyclist know they are crossing a sidewalk and the pedestrians have the right of way. According to the Danish highway code, this solution actually requires the bicyclist to dismount and walk across the sidewalk. No one does. In the middle of the road there is a central reserve to make crossing the road safer, and cobblestone to make it less safe. Mimersgade, Nørrebro, Copenhagen

On the other side of the street, bicyclists are reminded they just crossed a road, in case they forgot, by the elevated white stripes, which also serves to wake up bicyclists approaching the road, should they have fallen a sleep. Strengely I always thought drivers falling a sleep was a monopoly of cars, but you must learn all your life. Mimersgade, Nørrebro, Copenhagen 

Again, this time at Nørrebrogade, A traffic light and a yield line of course will not stop a bicyclist, in Copenhagen City Planning, they bet the rumble lines will! 

The change in surface, serves to remind pedestrians, they must yield to bicyclists, the cobblestones serves to my irritation. Hillerødgade, Nørrebro, Copenhagen

Crossing Hillerødgade, stille following the Green Route. Four lines of curbstone, to remind bicyclists, that they should buy a mountain bike next time. Hillerødgade, Nørrebro, Copenhagen

Two redundant line of cobblestone to cross, and though the street has next to no cartraffic, bicyclists must as always yield to cars. Stefansgade, Nørrebro, Copenhagen 

It is impossible to see, I agree, becuase at this intersection, it seems to be made right, but on each side of the street a line of curbstone “protects” the crossing bike path. Jagtvej,  Nørrebro, Copenhagen

Two Bike paths meet, what comes more naturally, than enhancing the delightful experience with a line of cobblestone.  Between Jagtvej and Rantzausgade, Nørrebro, Copenhagen

Same situation, almost same place.  Do notice how part of the park has integrated parking spaces, and purposely avoided grass, the Green Route was not named by coincidence. Between Jagtvej and Rantzausgade, Nørrebro, Copenhagen

Bikepath being crossed by a buslane, two lines of curbstone desperately needed. Between Jagtvej and Rantzausgade, Nørrebro, Copenhagen

Creativity at play, we have now crossed the Municipality line from Copenhagen to the enclave Frederiksberg. Two large bumps before an obscene amount of rumble lines, before STOP is painted before zebrastripes, before a Red light in this apparently extremely dangerous intersection. And again this interesting installation also reminds 50% of the bicyclists, that they have just survived crossing a DANGEROUS intersection. Rolighedsvej, Frederiksberg.   

 A closer look at the STOP sign painted on the ground, obviously you could easily just drive through, had it not been there. Rolighedsvej, Frederiksberg.

An apparent less dangerous crosssing, only a bump is needed (well actually under the leaves up by the sidewalk a STOP is painted as well), Thorvaldsensvej, Frederiksberg.

And of course, Frederiksberg just know how to remind people, that they survived the road they just crossed, and reinforce the image of the road as DANGEROUS. Because street signage/communication like this really is like yelling the same point at the same at people, every time you see them.

This part of the Green Route, and the last pictures is also classed as a Cykelsupersti (Bike SUPER-path), which is marketed as the high classed bike expressway system. While it is certainly not very impressive, part of the cytkelsupersti, is just ordinaty road, with no bike lane, separation or anything else to serve bicyclists better, than on any other ordinary road. 

Bicyclists coming from the road, on to the bike path, should be dissuaded by a curbstone.  Hostrupsvej, Frederiksberg.

And we are consistent, just 20 metres later, they should not expect to avoid the curbstone.  Hostrupsvej, Frederiksberg.

Easy to see, how one asphalt without ruble, would just not merge with asphalt with ruble, unless we put a row of cobblestones.  Hostrupsvej, Frederiksberg.

Well, creativity at play again, its been almost twenty meters without cobblestone, now where would they fit? Between Falkoner Allé &  Hostrupsvej, Frederiksberg.

Still here? -al right we´ll put in three lines of cobblestone Between Falkoner Allé &  Hostrupsvej, Frederiksberg.

Bike path merging with bike path, quick somebody, give me some curbstone.  Between Falkoner Allé, Frederiksberg.

Mama´s gonna knock you out! Why use asphalt at all, when we can make a bike path in cobblestone all the way. And if somebody think its an old street, we will throw our hidden green LED lights in their face, which in stead af a dull white line separates the street from the bikelane in a most funky way, because we are Frederiksberg, the only city in the country to be ruled by conservatives for a century  

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