Controversial sky-high bicycle connection attracts criticism

City could be looking at other options

The massive twin tower LM Project currently being designed for Copenhagen’s Nordhavn harbour district has come under fire for its plan to transport cyclists between the Marble Pier (Marmormolen) and the top of Langelinie Pier.

Designed by the US-based architect Steven Holl – known for designing the Linked Hybrid in Beijing and the Simmons Hall at MIT in Massachusetts – the LM Project made the rounds in the media this week with its proposed plans.

As things currently stand, cyclists will take an elevator some 65 metres up one building and cross the harbour on a walkway and cycle track before descending from another building via another elevator, thus circumventing the heavy cruise ship traffic below.

The trip would no doubt provide a scenic overview of the city below, but detractors contend that the method would be far from practical enough to save time compared to the short 2.2 kilometre cycling trip the long way around currently takes.

“Magpie architecture”
Mikael Colville-Andersen, the head of the urban design consultancy Copenhagenize Design Company, described the lofty bicycle plans as being “magpie architecture” – referring to the bird that is attracted to shiny things.

“It’s a case of grand standing,” Colville-Andersen told the Copenhagen Post. “The original tender from Copenhagen demands that there must be a bicycle solution. But why do we need to invent the wheel? It’s a complete waste of money.”

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Basque brilliance
Colville-Andersen pointed to the Puente de Vizcaya transporter bridge in Bilbao, Spain which has existed since 1893 and transports pedestrians and cyclists across the mouth of the Nervion River, even with cruise ships sailing through the area.

To get across, it takes a mere 90 seconds. LM Project’s solution will undoubtedly take considerably longer.

Rumours afoot
But there could be something in the works. According to Colville-Andersen, rumour has it that the city has communicated to the architect Steven Holl to drop the cyclist aspect of the LM Project. Instead, the city will apparently find a solution to the problem themselves.

The deputy mayor of technical and environmental issues in Copenhagen, Morten Kabell, has yet to confirm the news.

One thing is for sure though: any future bicycle connection across the harbour must take into consideration the significant amount of cruise ship traffic in the area.