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The new route along Praterstrasse, Source: City of Vienna

Vienna is building its first cycling mega highway

Vienna is building its first cycling mega highway

The new 7-kilometre route passing the Danube will be 4 metres wide

Last Friday, authorities in Vienna announced the construction of a cycling mega highway within the next couple of years, that will be 7 kilometres long and 4 metres wide. The highway will connect the Donaustadt district, a popular destination for outdoor recreation, with the city centre.

The new bike path will also come with an expansion of green spaces along its route and the motto ‘Get out of the asphalt’ (Raus aus dem Asphalt). The greening project accompanying the infrastructure expansion is rooted in the administration’s desire to minimise heat islands along streets, as well as unseal as much soil as they can.

Furthermore, the expansion is part of Vienna’s recently announced Smart Climate Strategy, a programme for the next 20 years. The strategy focuses on CO2 emissions reduction, but also on tackling social issues by using urban policy to ensure a just transition to climate neutrality. On top of that, Mayor Michael Ludwig has said in the past that the strategy should help Vienna remain the most liveable city in the world.

The route in detail

The new cycling route will start at Praterstern in the city centre and follow Lassallestrasse, then go across the Danube and the Danube Canal on Wagramer Strasse and end on Kagraner Platz in Donaustadt. From Praterstern, the route will follow into the city and connect to the existing Ring Cycle-Path. Altogether, the route will connect three city districts over a distance of 7 kilometres.

Redevelopment of Lassalestrasse will start as early as autumn 2022, while woks in Donaustadt will start in 2023. Praterstraße, going towards the city centre, however, will be the crown jewel of the new route, as existing cycle paths will be expanded with an additional 4.5 metres in width.

This will make it one of the widest bike lanes in the city, at a total of almost six metres. The move was prompted because last year, authorities counted 1.3 million people passing through this section alone. The new development will not include expansions of motor vehicle capacity, so it should work to both reduce car dependency and increase cycling attractiveness.

The greening effort, on the other hand, will focus on areas along the new route, and where there already are green spaces available the project calls for an expansion. Praterstern, for instance, will have twice as many trees.

Re-paving of adjacent squares will be done with bright concrete blocks, greenery and trees. Additionally, the city will install public water elements, that will help with cooling in the hot summer months.

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