Pop-up cycle lanes

Serious bicycle accidents, bad air, noise and high CO2 emissions make it clear: We need to develop safe cycling infrastructure as quickly as possible. This can be achieved cheaper and quicker than expected with so-called pop-up cycle lanes. These are quick to set up, yet safe and at first temporarily (yellow) marked cycle lanes, which – wide and at best protected by mobile barriers – are separated from motor vehicle traffic.

The pop-up cycle lanes tested during the early phase of the Corona crisis in Germany have now been tried out in more than 20 cities, and some of them have in the meantime become permanent cycle lanes. It is high time, because despite the fact that the infrastructure is still generally poor, the number of cyclists has been increasing for years. In order to attract even more people to cycling, we need a redistribution of public space – including the corresponding expansion of bicycle parking facilities and safe design. All of this requires space and motor vehicle traffic has to make way for it.

Procedurally and legally compliant with road traffic regulations, pop-up cycle lanes represent a groundbreaking political steering instrument – and an action plan – for municipalities to achieve a transition in traffic. In addition to streamlining and reorganising administrative loops that can take up to ten years, pop-up measures provide a valuable test in practice. The findings and potential for optimisation gained in the shortest possible time can be incorporated into the permanent planning of cycle lanes.To speed up the establishment of pop-up cycle lanes, the Berlin SenUMVK has developed standard plans for the temporary installation and expansion of bicycle traffic infrastructure to support the districts in the implementation of such projects. These standard plans follow the specifications and recommendations of RASt06 and ERA 2010. Basic comparisons of variants can be made through early coordination on site instead of creating several competing plans. Subsequently, further pop-up cycle lanes were set up in the Berlin districts of Mitte, Tempelhof-Schöneberg, Charlottenburg-Wilmersdorf, Neukölln, Treptow-Köpenick and Pankow. In view of the frequent lack of further training opportunities for specialist staff, these clear planning principles are of particular importance.

Temporary pop-up measures do not only work on multi-lane main roads. Especially in narrow side streets, there is often not enough space for cycling. This space cannot simply be conjured out of a hat, especially in densely built-up areas, but must be created by redistributing the existing road space. In order to achieve this, the number of parking spaces can be reduced, through-traffic can be avoided using modal filters such as plant containers, or a network of one-way streets can be created that are also open for bicycles in both directions. All these measures can be implemented quickly and mean more space for citizens to live in the city and more safety for cyclists and pedestrians.

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