Monday, February 21, 2011

Home from the railway station

Oulu is an university town, so we have lots of people who spend the week here and go visit their parents and friends on the weekends or the holidays. If you live far away, one of the best ways to do that is by train. You'll know that when you see the trains on fridays and sundays.  To get to the train station, you can take a bus, or bike there. Oh, you can get there by car, too, but then you'd have to park it somewhere. You can park your bike right at the train station. The photo was taken on an average -20C weekend. Typical of February.
The railway station is a small rectangular building and bike parking is provided at both ends of the station. During the cycling season, there's a lot more  bikes than places on the racks.

While I was taking pictures of the bike parking, I noticed some local youth biking past the railway station, three abreast:

They were biking on this pavement (MUP). In the grid street area most bikeways are on the pavement, because any bike lane markings would be under the snow. And sharing the busy street in the winter- no thanks!

Long shadows...
There's a long line of cars waiting at the traffic lights. The intersection is a busy one. The railroad track (north-south direction) splits the city in half, and one can get to the other side by underpasses or bridges. One of the underpasses is to the right.

There is also a big river which splits the city in half. Going straight, you get to one of the bridges, and turning left, you get to another bridge. So you can see why this intersection gets a lot of traffic.

A little closer
Now, remember there is an underpass to the right. Pedestrians and cyclists going straight get their own "express lane" next to the railway tracks on the bridge. They don't have to stop at the traffic lights.
A look from above.
The pedestrians and cyclist wanting to go to the other side of the tracks (for example to one of several supermarkets there) have more choices than motorists, because there is more underpasses available for them.

From the other side of the tracks
Note how the bikeways on both sides of the car lanes are higher than the car lanes? The trucks and other high vehicles need more clearance to get under the bridge. The underpass has to be dug wider and also lower for them, making the underpass more expensive. On the other hand, by building the bikeways at a higher level there is less earthworks needed, and the bikes get a flatter route with smaller uphills.

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