From Fortress City to Cycle City
Denmark is well known as a nation with high intensive cycle traffic. The main cities benefit from the high number of students, congested roads and high taxed car parking, which gives a high rate of cycling from the very start.
Smaller cities with a population of 50 – 100,000 citizens have great potential for cycling because of short distances and room for building cycle infrastructure. Fredericia has 18 % share of cycle traffic and the target is to achieve an increase of further 25 % cycle trips. To reach this, cycle infrastructure isn’t enough but further actions have to be implemented.
Fredericia achieved national funding for an ambitious project for 2010 - 11. This cycle project consists of 4 different groups of initiatives together with a cross going branding scheme.
The project aims to enforce the establishment of a cycle city identity in a much faster way than other cities. It’s crucial that the citizens find the cycle city relevant and meaningful to themselves. Therefore all campaigns are direct and action oriented – the message must go from your legs to your mind!
The existing net of 140 km cycle paths still has to be enlarged. The project includes 6 new cycle paths where cyclists will become protected from cars by curb stones. These paths give special value to the local school children and their families.
Automatic counting stations will be placed along these new cycle paths to secure an ongoing monitoring of the cycle flow. Maintenance is improved by the opening of a SMS service and an interactive map for reporting pot holes and similar type of problems and conditions impacting on cyclists.
Cycle parking and service
All cycle stands in the city centre have been replaced by new ones. These stands have a good grip on the cycle and inside every stand there’s a hidden wire which can be pulled out to lock the cycle 100 % safely.
5 cycle pumps are placed around in the city and more are planned to come. Cycle stands will be placed at central bus stops to enlarge the catchment area for buses and cycles in combination.
Furthermore 4 cycle barometers is showing cyclists that they really count – data is shown online on the web site as well. Denmark’s first outdoor workshop for cyclists is established so cyclists can do small repairs by themselves. More cycle pumps and barometers are planned.
Fredericia Station is placed as a key node in the Danish railway system. Because of this the station is fully served by 4 trains coming from all 4 directions every hour. This is a great basis for further Ride & Bike facilities. The revitalisation of a great former industrial area within the city centre means that the number of residents in the fortress quarter is going to double within 20 years. This growth in traffic demand is planned mainly to be taken by public transport and cycling. Because of this a new master plan for boosting cycle parking has just been agreed in cooperation with the Danish railway company DSB. The aim is to create the Danish model for a demonstration cycle station.
Every year local workplaces are encouraged to participate in the Cycle to Work campaign where teams are competing against each other by the number of cycle trips during 4 weeks. Around 2,000 people participate in the contest.
A catalogue of ideas for workplaces will be produced and widely distributed. This is to focus on the long list of initiatives which can be implemented at the workplaces in cooperation by the management and the employees. Safe cycle parking, showers, economical benefits and so on are initiatives which can be started locally.
A new campaign concept is being developed called We’re Cycling Every Day. This means that 6 large workplaces get invited to participate. All cycles gets a RFID chip mounted and chip detectors are being placed by the workplace entrance. All registrations are wireless transferred to a central database so that the most active cyclists can get rewarded as part of a cycling campaign with workplaces competing against other workplaces. Experiences indicate an estimated growth in cycle trips by 20 – 30 %.
Together with the Danish railway company DSB 100 car commuters are invited to have a free test ride of Ride & Bike for 3 month each. They’ll get a PT card, secure cycle parking and a smart carbon cycle to convince them that this is a very fine alternative to car use.
Cyclist safety has a very high priority. The use of cycle helmets among children is quite high while adults use of helmets are lacking behind. This is why 1,700 cycle helmets have been handed out for free. All gift recipients have been photographed and the pictures have been shared on the web site as part of a contest to find the smartest cycle helmet user. This has given a very high attention on cycling and cyclist safety.
All schools are encouraged to develop a local traffic policy. This is a very important process to engage all stakeholders in children’s safety and healthy modes of transport.
The cycle city project invites all school children to participate in the Cycle to School campaign. School teachers are rewarded for signing in school classes and the pupils are offered local activities and rewards as part of the cycle competitions.
In cooperation with the sport teachers from the schools a road show activity day will travel from school to school to motivate children to cycle more often. This includes test fields, cycle stunts, treasure hunt on bikes and so on.
Similarly to the competition for workplaces, 26 schools are invited to participate in a ‘We’re Cycling Every Day’ where cyclist arriving to the school automatically gets registered thank to the use of chips and detectors. Based on American experiences this might increase cycling among schools children in Fredericia by up till 50 % despite today’s high rate. The national cancer prevention organisation is a partner of this project and the aim is to enlarge the project nationally.
All parents to school children in the 5th grade will receive a booklet concerning health and the necessary cycle training activities.
School classes are invited to participate in a competition concerning cycling around the world. All the children have to cycle on turn using a GPS device to register their cycle trips. When different destinations are reached the pupils gets new information which can be integrated in the school lessons.
Firstly a logo, a slogan and a dedicated cycle city web site was launched to mark the release of the new cycle friendly policy. Banners were placed in the city centre and trolley coins, seat covers, newsletters, sweets and so were spread among cyclists and coming cyclists. Furthermore a new cycle route designer and cycle maps has been released.
As it’s very important to be engaged in cycle networks we decided to join the Cycling Embassy of Denmark and hold the position as chairman. We are members of the Danish Cycle City Network and we apply for several national and European projects. Fredericia will become known as a proactive new comer to cycle friendly cities.
An upcoming initiative includes a new cycle action plan beside a model for bikeability for the complete road network.
The project includes a broad range of parameters to evaluate the impact and the process. Counting’s, national statistics, accident rates, etcetera is used to monitor the changes in the city. A few months after the launch more than 40 articles had covered the cycle city project.
Every year a citizen panel is used to describe the travel habits, problems and barriers for cycling as well as the desired changes. These information’s go into a yearly report named The Bicycle Account for Fredericia. An ongoing benchmarking secures a political focus on the cycling strategy which in the long term generates a more liveable city.