Christiania seeking to block bike path construction

City is willing to change route of path the commune calls path a safety issue, but area’s historical sites may stand in way

January 20th, 2013 6:52 am| by admin

Residents of Christiania are seeking to alter the path of a proposed bicycle route they say passes too close to the commune.

The route, named ‘Christianshavnsruten’, is designed to be a shortcut for cyclists travelling between the city centre and Amager.

But Fonden Fristaden Christiania, which represents the commune's interests, has lodged an official protest out of concerns that it poses a safety risk.

“It’s like with wind-turbines. Even if you support sustainable energy, you can still oppose some wind turbines are placed in certain locations, if they’re too noisy or pose some other problem,” Knud Foldschack, a spokesperson for Fonden Fristaden Christiania, told Politiken newspaper. “This will result in too much traffic. The roads are too narrow where the bicycle paths are planned.”

Plans to build the new path have been discussed for several years and are part of the City Council’s goal of making Copenhagen a more bike-friendly city by building direct cycle routes and bridges that will help cyclists reach their destinations quicker.

Fonden Fristaden Christiania appealed without success last autumn to have construction stopped. It is now looking into the possibility of altering the route so that it doesn’t go straight through the commune.

The proposed route linking Amager's Kløvermarken recreational area (bottom) with the city centre (top left, outside picture) passes directly through Christiania (Map: City of Copenhagen)

The city said it was open to alternative routes, but said what ever the final path was, it should be as straight as possible. 

A final decision about the path of the route could lie in the hands of Kulturstyrelsen, which manages the country's historic sites. The ramparts surrounding the disused naval base are listed as historic sites, and any construction that affected them would need to be approved.

The city has already spoken with Kulturstyrelsen about alternate routes, but to no avail.

“If Christiania can speak with Kulturstyrelsen and come to a different result then we'd be willing to look at it,” Jens Elmelund, the assistant head of the city’s public works department, said. “But they have to be as straight as possible or cyclists won’t use them.”

Aside from the route through Christiania, new paths on Gothersgade and Kristian IX's Gade/Bremerholm and new bridges across the harbour in Christianshavn are expected to alleviate bicycle traffic over the two main bridges, Knippelsbro and Langebro, connecting the city with Amager.

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