Often, the remains of a railway, underground tunnel, etc., are retrofitted into new bike paths, bike lanes, or bike tunnels. But it is infrequent, however, that these types of structures are built from scratch to specifically serve the cycling and pedestrian community.
And it is really quite special when a structure like this one, a bike tunnel, is well-lighted and adorned with art. But that is just what is happening in the Norwegian town of Bergen, according to a story over at the Euronews.Green website.
The Purpose of Building the Bike Tunnel
The Fyllingsdalstunnelen (Fyllingsdal Tunnel named after a residential area in Bergen) is being built to link two areas: Fyllingsdalen and Mindemyren. The bike tunnel will allow quicker access to Bergen by pedestrians. The tunnel was also built to motivate pedestrians to walk or bike versus being in their cars.
According to the project manager for the tunnel, though, the main reason it came into existence was as an escape from the tram that runs adjacent to the tunnel. I’m not sure what is meant by the use of “escape” here, maybe more like an exit? Anyway, Bergen city officials decided to build the tunnel as a dual-use structure, so it could also be used by cyclists, runners, and walkers.
Length of the Tunnel and Bike Path
The Fyllingsdal Tunnel itself isn’t that long at 2.9 kilometers (less than 2 miles). It is part of a bike path that terminates in the Bergen city center, which is 7.8 kilometers in length (a little under 5 miles). The tunnel takes 10 minutes to ride and the whole path takes 25 minutes to ride.
As already mentioned, the tunnel is wide enough to accommodate cyclists, runners, or walkers. But this isn’t the usual dark, dimly lighted space that most people think of when it comes to tunnels. For the short time pedestrians are in this space, they will see dynamic lighting and artwork.
The tunnel was also built with pedestrian safety in mind. In fact, it “features well-lit rest stops and security cameras throughout. Emergency phones are available every 250 meters.” The tunnel is also kept at a constant temperature of 7 celsius (45 degrees). And, most likely, to keep out potentially negative elements, it is only open for usage from 5.30am to 11.30pm.
It is Really the Second Longest Bike Tunnel in The World
The answer to that question is both yes and no. Fyllingsdal Tunnel is the longest tunnel built specifically for pedestrian use. But is it the longest tunnel? No. It is the second-longest pedestrian tunnel in the world.
There is a bike tunnel in the United States that is slightly longer outside of Seattle, WA called the Snoqualmie Tunnel. It is 3.6 kilometers (about 2.5 miles) in length. But that tunnel, unlike the one in Bergen, was built upon the remnants of an abandoned railway tunnel.
The construction of a bike tunnel to encourage people to use alternative forms of transportation outside of motor vehicles is a wonderful thing. It illustrates how Europe continues to lead the way in making societal and sustainable changes to help reduce carbon emissions into the atmosphere.
The building of this tunnel also illustrates the world is beginning to seriously take action to fight climate change, even if it seems slow.But some progress toward that goal is always better than none.
By the way, I’ve been chosen this year to be a member of the Pactimo Ambassador Club with the purpose to encourage the sport of cycling. If you haven’t heard of Pactimo, they are a manufacturer of high-quality cycling apparel and are based in Colorado here in the United States. Check them out at this link.
Have a great weekend everyone!!!