Category Archives: Urban planning

The Fahrrad Station Süd

As it comes to bike infrastructures, sometimes they are completely new and some other are built based on previous infrastructures such us car garages. The Fahrrad Station Süd in the Karlsruhe station, Germany, is a clear example of the last point.

At the beginning, it was an obscure parking for 38 cars which was transformed into a building for 680 bicycles. Thus, less cars and more bikes, a direct example of how urban mobility is changing. Originally, the prestigious architect Rem Kolhaas was proposed to build a facility for the Zentrums für Kunst und Medientechnologie (Center for Art and Technology Media) next to the train station. After some disagreements, Rem rejected the project and finally the building was constructed in a different neighbor. So, the building continued being a parking for cars. In 2017, Karlsruhe proposed the target of reaching a 30 percent of total modal split by bikes and a new project started which concluded in nine months. As a result, the old car parking was transformed into an impressive 1,300 squared meters for bikes. It accepts not only urban and conventional bicycles, but also cargobikes, bike tows and electric bikes. Moreover, the station offers a modern locker room, drinking fountains and even a workshop with professional tools. In addition, it has five zones identified with different colors and symbols on floors and walls. Such was the impact when opened that the building received the German Cycling Award in 2020.

Furthermore, it opens 24-7 and the electricity that consumes comes completely from renewable energy sources. From the user economy, using it to lock your bike costs 1 euro per day and there are tickets for a month (8.50 euros), a semester (35 euros) and a year (75 euros).

The Nørreport Station

The Nørreport Station, Copenhagen (Denmark) is a clear example of how to transform a chaotic area full of cars into an awarded place for people and bicycles which offers services for about 350,000 people per day today. This train station was built in 1916 and connected the medieval downtown with the neighbor of Nørrebro. It was a comfortable square until cars appeared.

In 2009, the council ordered a study to two different architecture companies. Conclusions were the same: too much car traffic and an extremely difficult place for pedestrians. Thus, an urgent remodeling was needed. Paths on snow made by people walking and cycling gave clues about how to deal with it. Specifically, station entrances, covered spaces and bike parking locations were inspired by cold. These facts determined the most favorable, natural fluxes for people.

In 2015, the remodeling was completed thanks to the impressive 2,500 bikes parking. Interestingly, this massive bike parking is slightly lower than the rest of the train station so that one can have a look of the set and a better place hierarchy. In addition, tourists’ jaws drop with the amazing view. Moreover, buildings in the square are made with rounded shaped glass which increases clarity and a sense of safety.

As a result, the Nørreport Station won the Danish Lighting award, the European award on Urban Public Place and the Copenhagen Best Urban Context Place in 2016; the Landezine Landscape International award in 2017; the Civic Trust award in 2018.

The Goonies

What have you thought when reading the title of this post: The Goonies? You have probably thought about adventure, freedom, friendliness, risks and nostalgia. The Goonies was an iconic movie in the 80’s which marked a whole generation with other materials by George Lucas, John Carpenter or Stephen King. The four friends plus a three-people group of teenagers faced an impressive quest: To find a treasure of gold and diamonds which was hidden by the pirate One-Eyed Willy. The magical quest starts and finishes with bikes as powerful symbols. Remember some other movies from the 80’s such as E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial, It or BMX Bandits.

Nostalgia is also powerful since we can say that The Goonies is the seed of the series Stranger Things. Besides, nostalgia made Youngbuck to create an internet forum called BMX Musem ( in which he wants to get the necessary accessory to build the four bicycles that appear in The Goonies like the fabulous Wester Flyer Invader Mag of Mickey.

The Goonies, E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial, BMX Bandits and some other movies from past decades in which actors and actresses move by pedaling are impossible to make because of cities which have made compulsory bike helmet no matter the biker age. Most of urban bikers have learnt riding a bike without wearing it. Most of us do not pedal like mad people and respect other actors in street, specially the pedestrians. Besides, making it mandatory reduces the number of cyclists as were the cases of Australia and New Zealand. Moreover, in a crash between a bike and a car, the decisive factor in determining whether or not the biker dyes is not the helmet, but the car speed. Numerous studies demonstrate that if the car speed is above 50 km/h (31 mph), most of the time the cyclist dyes. Thus, authorities should focus on preventing too fast cars by using radars, speed bumps or winding car line designs.

Dangerous by design: highway exists without visibility

What happens every day at this I-5 downtown Seattle highway exit?.
Mostly nothing since the highway gets clogged with cars trying to go to the office so they move slowly.

But outside the peak hours it turns into a trap: an almost empty highway gets you into a short tunnel with a 90 degree turn, no-visibility downtown exit, this is the result:

There are already plenty of signs telling drivers to slow down, but here are some possible solutions that may help: speed bumps to make sure distracted drivers lower their speed, a traffic light before entering the tunnel that stays red and only goes green when it detects the car has actually stopped, permanently closing the exit since it’s almost impossible to give more visibility.