Bike Elevators, the missing link?

If only it could be downhill, both ways! That's every cycle-commuter's dream. Sometimes its just laziness, but other times steep hills are a real barrier for cyclists. Enter... The Bike Elevator. Since 1993 Trondheim (Norway) has been running a bike lift, built directly into the curb on one of its steepest hills. Rumour has it that North Vancouver (Canada) is also considering one. In the picture above (click to enlarge), the cyclist's right foot is resting on a moving footplate that helps him up what looks to be a brutal hill. (more photos here, and here, video below after the jump)

If you've ever taken your bike on the sea bus across to North Vancouver, you know that similar slopes wait for you when you get there. The bike elevator can take 1 new passenger every 12 seconds (or 300 cyclists per hour). It looks a bit crazy, but it may just be the missing link for cycle commuters who live in steep terrain. And when you stop to think about it, it's not any more elaborate than some of the infrastructure that we build for cars.


According to the website for the existing lift, the TRAMPE, costs for the system are similar to building a normal urban bike path, and over its lifetime no injuries have been reported. Other than North Vancouver, 4 other cities are supposedly considering installing one. I'm curious to know which, and also how the system deals with rain, snow and winter weather (for those really hardy Vancouver cyclists out there).

Comments

5 Responses to "Bike Elevators, the missing link?"

Anonymous said... 5 August 2009 at 16:36

Montreal's BIXIS tend to get parked in the low lying areas. Riding back up steep hills on a heavy 3-speed is not everyone's 1st choice. BIXI riders would be well served with the added incentive of these smart bike elevators. Is this one of the improvements necessary to ensure this will be a sustained success and role model for other "sole cities"?

http://
montreal.bixi.com/home/home-info

Alex Aylett said... 6 August 2009 at 04:59

That's a great point, "Anonymous".

Marseilles and Paris have had the same problems with their bike lending program: People ride downhill to work, and then take the bus home! I think both cities now have flatbed trucks that redistribute the bikes around the city.

A lift might be an elegant way to encourage people to round out their trips.

Mayor Darrell Mussatto said... 6 August 2009 at 18:34

Thanks for your vote of support for a Trampe" type bicycle lift system in North Vancouver, I really appreciate it.

I, like you, was very intrigued when I first saw a video of the system and immediately felt it would be a great thing for Lonsdale ave. So I did a little research and am hoping to present the concept to members of council in September of this year.

I will essentially be asking staff to do a more detailed examination into the system and to give us a high level estimate on costs. Once we have this info we can refer to our budget discussions.

If you know of others who are supportive please have them send in emails or letters of supupport,

Cheers,

Darrell

Alex Aylett said... 6 August 2009 at 18:36

Thanks Darrell,
Where is the proposed lift going to go?

Mayor Darrell Mussatto (via e-mail) said... 6 August 2009 at 18:37

Right now we would be looking at Lonsdale since there are very few driveway crossings on it. Chesterfield would be difficult. But that's what I hope staff will take a closer look at. Each block would have its own separate lift from Esplanade to Keith and the green necklace.

Feel free to post the note on your website. And the more responses the better!

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This is a blog for news and views on the future of sustainable cites. A major revamp is in the works. Until then I am keeping this version up as an archive of my past writing.

You can expect occasional updates, but not with the same frequency as in the past.

You can also find my writing on urban redesign and sustainability in ReNew Canada, The Mark, Sustainable Cities Canada, WorldChanging, and other more specialized academic publications.

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