Macro Design

This is large scale design, and consideration of the bigger picture.  A stretch of cycle path in isolation is of very little value, thus good macro design is important to ensure that paths form an integrated part of larger networks of movement within the city. What is needed is a large, cohesive and connected network of paths based around commonly desired destinations and transport nodes. These can form a hierarchy of motion of larger and smaller paths on relevant routes across the city. David Hembrow offers a cutting analysis of London’s proposed networks, suggesting that what is needed is a dense and interconnected grid of cycle paths. He claims that the proposed cycle paths are not nearly dense enough, and that therefore cycling is not prioritised and will not become the easiest or most convenient travel option.


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Hembrow argues that if it is to be successful, then the grid needs to provide access to all the key locations people need to travel to:

Access to all these places will create a tight grid of interlocked dense cycle paths and must be achieved through large scale macro planning. In his analysis, Hembrow holds up the example of Assen.



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Red = primary bicycle route

Blue = Secondary bicycle route

Grey = mainly residential street free from motor traffic

Green = Recreational bicycle route

He argues that what makes the cycle paths effective in Assen is that the grid extends right from villages outside the city to the city centre, that primary routes are never more than 750m apart, and that all the space between them is also available by bike. Such a complete and extensive grid necessitates the crossing of natural barriers like rivers, and provides opportunity for the production of innovative cycle infrastructure like the Cykelslangen; which enables a cross-city route to continue uninterrupted over a river and through a complex urban setting.

The ‘cykelslangen’ cycle snake, Copenhagen / Image from

The ‘cykelslangen’ cycle snake, Copenhagen / Image from