3 reasons why Copenhagen is the world leader in urban sustainability

By Chris Turner in  Mother Nature Network

The buzz from Copenhagen is all about its new ‘superhighway’ for bikes. The real secret to its pioneering urban design, though, is that it puts people first on all its streets.

Cyclists pedal past a digital sign counting biking traffic over a bridge in downtown Copenhagen

As the New York Times reported with much praise – and unprecedented levels of RTing, if my Twitter stream is any indication – the city of Copenhagen continues to set the global pace for urban sustainability, particularly as regards two-wheeled, self-propelled transportation. But as is too often the case when the Times picks up on a story I started reporting three years ago (I’m not getting rich at this gig, so at least let me humblebrag), the paper’s coverage of Copenhagen’s bike-driven transportation revolution goes for flash and novelty over substance. Allow me to explain, in listicle fashion.

Herewith, the three key reasons why Copenhagen is the global model for sustainable urban transport, in ascending order of importance:

1. Bicycle Superhighway!
This, of course, is the piece of the puzzle the Times chose to focus on, because no headline writer in the history of journalism has ever passed up an opportunity to use the term superhighway. As the Times reports, the city of Copenhagen has launched the first of 26 planned suburban commuter arteries built exclusively for bicycles: long, well-paved, carefully maintained bike paths to link its suburbs with the inner city, up to 14 miles long and requiring the cooperation of 21 separate municipal governments.

These are the numbers the Times reports. Remarkably, the story makes no mention of the extraordinary figure for cycling’s modal share in Copenhagen, so I will: fully 37 percent of Copenhagen residents — and 55 percent of downtown dwellers — use bikes as their primary mode of transportation. Which points to another key Copenhagen innovation .

Read the  full story here


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