Sunday, 14 May 2017

Seville: A Dense and Consistent Cycling Network

One thing that UK towns and cities seem to focus on is routes. Whether they be branded as 'Cycle Super Highways' in London, or 'City Ways' in Glasgow, the focus is generally on moving people (often targeted at commuters) from their home to their office. Seville doesn't have individual branded routes. Instead, there's a dense network of separated cycling infrastructure, which, for the most part, follows main roads for cars.

Here we can see the the Seville cycling network. Notice the relatively high density of cycling infrastructure. What you can't see from that map is the consistency of the network. For better or worse, the vast majority of cycle lanes are to be found bi-directional on one side of the road. Unlike if I look at a map of cycle facilities in the UK, I know that the infrastructure marked green on this map will

  • be genuinely 8-80 safe
  • not require me to 'keep my wits about me' or cause me stress
  • not force me to decide whether to try to enter an ASL (there are zero ASLs for cycles here)
  • not force me to decide whether to 'take the lane' or 'hug the kerb' (since it's all separated)
  • ensure I am separated from motor vehicles by space or time at all times
All those obstacles to cycling are completely eliminated on the network, which, as you can see, covers a pretty dense grid. 

With London allowing so-called CS1 to be included in their cycle network, even by sticking to marked routes I don't know that my journey will meet the above criteria. Similarly, Edinburgh's Quality Bike Corridor meets absolutely none of those criteria.

What Seville, on the marked network, has done very successfully is provide a consistently-good network for cycling. Note that I'm not saying that it's perfect or even excellent, but consistently-good. And I think that consistency has been important to the relative success cycling enjoys here.

As always, photos say more than words, so here are a bunch taken on the network shown in the map above.

This is the second in a series of (long overdue) posts about cycling in Seville. Find the first here. Stay tuned for more! Follow me on Twitter, @justacwab

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