New fast route complements Helsinki cycling network
A new fast cycling route now serves Helsinki cyclists. The route runs along the main railway tracks. Called Pohjoisbaana in Finnish, the bikeway connects southern and northern cycling routes in Helsinki. It is a part of the network of bicycle superhighways, that is, bikeways with wide lanes and no or few stops, allowing for higher speeds and smoother rides than regular bikeways.
“Cycling is clearly the fastest method in Helsinki to move from one place to another on short distances. It’s also healthy everyday physical activity. Helsinki works systematically to promote cycling,” says Helsinki Deputy Mayor Anni Sinnemäki.
Sinnemäki continues, “The new northern bicycle superhighway between Pasila and Käpylä, a part of Helsinki’s bicycle superhighway network, improves the everyday travel of many cyclists. The completion of this bicycle superhighway was one of the year’s most important cycling events in Helsinki. All the best to you, Northern Bicycle Superhighway!”
“The main users of the northern bicycle superhighway are long-distance cyclists and local residents,” says Niklas Aalto-Setälä, a cycling coordinator at the City of Helsinki Urban Environment Division.
A grand opening of the autumn cycling season especially targeting the main users of the northern bicycle superhighway was organized on 28 September in cooperation with Helsinki Cyclists. The event included a bicycle procession, a ribbon cutting ceremony, speeches and partners’ presentations at booths.
130 kilometres of bicycle superhighways
The network of bicycle superhighways is under construction in Helsinki. Once complete, Helsinki will have 130 kilometres of bicycle superhighways connecting the main residential and workplace areas. To make cycling as smooth as possible, these bikeways are as straight and flat as possible. Rides are also facilitated by minimizing stops, with high-quality under- and overpasses, and with good intersection design. Special attention is paid to the lighting and winter maintenance of bicycle superhighways.
The planning of the new bicycle superhighway, which is about 1.6 kilometres long, started in April 2015, and construction went underway in August 2016. The construction process was demanding for many reasons including restrictions caused by the adjacent railway tracks and nearby housing. The northern bicycle superhighway was opened to cyclists on 31 August 2017.