Velostras, the Strasbourg Cycle Superhighway System
Gregory Delattre, Greater Strasbourg
Vélostras is the Strasbourg cycle superhighway system. Started in 2013 the project will end in 2020. It will double the bicycle use in the Strasbourg area
1. Vélostras, the Strasbourg cycle superhighway system
With 8% of all journeys in the city made by bicycle (15% in the city centre) and with some 600 km of cycle tracks, Strasbourg is France's foremost cycle city. The 3rd master plan, adopted in 2011, sets out to double the modal share of cycling in the city, to reach 16% by 2025. A number of actions have been scheduled to meet this target, including the creation of Vélostras, a cycle express-route network based on the Danish and Dutch cycle superhighway systems.
The network is to be 130 km long and comprises 9 routes running from the outskirts to the city centre and 3 ring routes. Some of these routes run along the existing green and blue belt, including the canals flowing into the city. Many parts of the proposed routes exist already, while some need to be built and others upgraded as they do not comply with the standards set for the Vélostras .
2. Vélostras, a network designed to meet 5 standards of service
2.1 User friendly:
Vélostras has to be wide enough to allow 2 cyclists to ride next to each other without impeding the passage of another cyclist coming in the opposite direction. The network will also include services to help improve the cycling experience (dynamic cycle counters, service stations, information, innovative and user-friendly communication) and be attractively landscaped.
Cyclists must be able to ride at an average speed of 20 km/h along Vélostras so that any part of Greater Strasbourg is within 30 minutes of the city centre. This means that waiting time for crossing major intersections has to be reduced to a minimum, while the system needs to feature a large number of well-designed linkups to the local cycle-track network.
Cyclists must be able to use Vélostras 24/7, every day of the year, which means it has to be well lit, cleared of snow and regularly maintained.
Vélostras should have its own signage system and be designed as a continuous, high-quality network.
While Vélostras needs to allow users to ride at a good average speed, this must not affect safety. Specific attention is being paid to a number of major intersections, with the development of special features for cyclists. The system is also being designed to provide a safe buffer between cyclists and pedestrians.
3.1 Completion scheduled for 2020.
The initial focus is on the completion of the city-centre ring-route, a 12 km cycle track around the center of Strasbourg. The final section of some 600 m was opened to cyclists in December 2013, while another 500 m section is due to be upgraded in late 2014, following the completion of a large-scale urban development project.
The 15 km route running along the Marne au Rhin channel is scheduled to be upgraded between 2015 and 2018 (including widening the route, installing lighting and improving connections to the local cycle track network). The final sections are currently in the development stage and will be completed in 2019 and 2020, ready for the roll-out of the full Vélostras network in 2020.
3.2 Specific, wide-reaching marketing.
A dedicated communication plan will publicise Vélostras to a wide public, and special signage will be set up along the whole of the city-centre ring-route and along the 3 routes which share the same tracks as the city's EuroVelo routes (EV 5 and EV 15).
The first counter has been installed on one of the busiest routes, which carries over 6000 cyclists/day. In 2014, the first "Vélostras stations" are to be introduced, featuring pumps, water, tools, an inner-tube dispenser and information for cyclists. The new facilities will be advertised in communication operations (including videos, posters and events).
4. Vélostras, the only scheme of its kind in France.
Vélostras will help drive cycle use by increasing the number of trips of over 5 km. The high standards of service (safety, continuity, usability, etc.) will attract new cycle users (such as young and elderly people, electric bikes and cargo bikes). Vélostras will bring the use of cycles in Strasbourg up to the same levels as those in the major European cycling cities and will open up the way to a modal shift unmatched in France for trips of between 5 and 15 km.
Association for European Transport