In the Park
Take a deep breath, have a break and gather new energy.
The park at Gleisdreieck will be the hub of the Radbahn and other potential bike routes. Its post-industrial character resonates with the overall charm of the Radbahn, which will combine new technologies and modern urban design with this physical piece of history. The park is a great place to take a break along the route and features recreational infrastructure for all age groups.
This chapter examines the potential of the Radbahn from an environmental and health perspective. It includes a proposal for generating sustainable energy for the power supply of the overall route and provides three distinct options for crossing over the Landwehr Canal.
After entering the park via Bülowstraße, the Radbahn leaves the covering of the railway viaduct and features solar roadways for absorbing solar energy. Electricity for the entire Radbahn could be generated using this infrastructure.
Three suggestions for the Radbahn as it traverses the Landwehr Canal include: (1) a northern route over Schöneberger Bridge, (2) a new bicycle bridge and (3) a southern route that would utilize the Anhalter pedestrian bridge.
Connection of the Parks
With the construction of the S21 train line, the park at Gleisdreieck will not only become a more important hub for public transport, but it will also become a major exchange for Berlin’s inner-city cycling, jogging and walking trails. Untapped potential exists in all directions.
“[The Radbahn is] a really great suggestion! I ride this route very often myself and have been annoyed for years, because it would be so easy to paint a bike lane and better protect cyclists from passing cars. Your idea is, of course, much better and more spectacular. It would be a great asset!” Leonard Grosch, partner at Atelier Loidl Landschaftsarchitekten, the firm responsible for designing the award-winning park at Gleisdreieck.
Alternative Routes Across the Landwehr Canal
Our proposed bicycle highway will cross the Landwehr Canal, however the question remains: what is the best solution? In our first sketch from November 2015, we suggested hanging the Radbahn from the U1 subway line bridge. This creative and iconic solution demonstrated that cycling infrastructure can also be innovative.
We have since developed three further proposals. Option 2 is an exclusive Radbahn bridge that would also be a distinctive landmark. Located directly in front of the German Technical Museum, the bridge would be a technical interpretation of the idea “each according to their own style”. It features five options for the five key modes of transportation: a pedestrian bridge for pedestrians, a cyclist bridge for cyclists, the rail bridge for public transport, the Möckernbrücke bridge for cars and underneath it all, the canal for shipping.
The three possible Radbahn routes over the canal
Option 1: The Northern Route
This option runs via Schöneberger Strasse (which includes a bridge) and then along the banks of the canal near Halleschen Ufer.
Pros and Cons:
+No major financial investment necessary
+The route along the banks of the canal (near Halleschen Ufer) could be extended to the subway station Mendelssohn-Bartholdy-Park, which would provide a cycling connection to Potsdamer Platz
-The character of the Radbahn would be interrupted as it leaves the covered railway viaduct
Option 2: An Exclusive Radbahn Bridge
This route follows Luckenwalder Strasse and then crosses the canal on a special Radbahn bridge, which would be a new landmark for Berlin’s transport sector.
Pros and Cons
+Direct and intersection-free connection for cyclists
+Landmark symbolizing a modern and bicycle-friendly city
-Significant financial investment required
Option 3: The Southern Route
Here the Radbahn runs through the park at Gleisdreieck, along behind the German Technical Museum and across the canal via the Anhalter pedestrian bridge.
+No major financial investment necessary
-This route crosses the three-lane B96; more frequent use of the existing pedestrian traffic lights could impair the flow of traffic on this major federal road and on the Radbahn.
Innovation and Energy
The Radbahn offers ideal conditions for exhibiting new, innovative infrastructure and thus positions Berlin as a laboratory for testing the effectiveness and amortization of investments in cycling.
One of our goals is for the Radbahn to incorporate the production of renewable energy, which would supply the necessary lighting and signal systems, as well as possible charging stations for cars and electric bicycles along the 9 km route. The two main options are kinetic energy and solar energy. The electricity generated would be fed into the grid and therefore cover a significant amount of the Radbahn’s energy requirements.
The surface of the Radbahn generates solar power
The generation of electricity via kinetic energy from cars has been tested in various cities worldwide and many companies are active in this field. According to scientific research carried out by Underground Power (UP), a car can generate over 0.5 kW of energy while decelerating. UP manufactures a speed bump to utilize this energy. In the context of the Radbahn, it would be particularly useful to install such speed bumps at intersections where cars cross the Radbahn or at various locations along the route. Such an intervention would help increase safety for pedestrians and cyclists, as well as generate valuable energy.
Solar panels could be installed at specific points along the Radbahn, such as in the park at Gleisdreieck. Previous investigations on the topic and experiences with solar panels on bike paths demonstrate that such projects deliver positive results, even though it may not be possible to attain the efficiency of classic solar panels (e.g. on open fields or the roofs of houses) due to a lack of inclination towards the sun and reduced self-cleaning effects provided by rain. This requires further investigation.
Approximately 10,000 kWh of electricity would be required to operate lighting and signal systems along the Radbahn all year round. This exact amount is produced by a 70-meter-long solar bicycle path in the Dutch town of Krommenie. The path was inaugurated in 2014 and involved a €3 million investment. Cyclists in Krommenie have not experienced any negative changes compared to conventional road surfaces.