Wheely good idea? Project plans to use disused London tube tunnels as underground cycle network

London’s population is growing. The capital has been steadily increasing in numbers and is expected to house an excess of nine million residents by 2021.

With tubes and buses cramming commuters like sardines in a tin, Londoners are becoming desperate for new and sustainable forms of transport.

With the city limits not growing in size how does London solve its commuting crisis? According to London Mayor Boris Johnson cycling is the answer.

American design firm Gensler’s new project dubbed the London Underline plans to tackle the issue by turning London’s abandoned tube tunnels into bustling streets beneath the city.

The development aims to not only help commuters but also the environment, by turning the kinetic energy of the commuter traffic into electricity using PaveGen technology.

Last week the project won the Best Conceptual Project gong Judged by, none other than Boris, at the London Planning awards.

Ian Muccaheny co-director of Gensler London, said: “Now that London has reached the highest level of population in its history we need to think creatively about how to maximize the potential of our infrastructure.

The adaptation of surplus and underutilized tube and rail tunnels could provide a quick and simple addition to our infrastructure network.”

The idea in its early development and some way of becoming a sustainable project, but early signs suggest it’s a proposal with real clout.

The Cycle Superhighway was given the green light on February 4 and the £160 million project is planned to be finished by the end of 2016.

Two of the proposed four routes that have already been given the go ahead are in south west London, from Colliers Wood station through to Bank, and from Wandsworth through to Westminster.

The project aims to treble the amount of cycle traffic sustainable in the capital as well as drastically improving the safety of cyclists.

Sir Peter Hendy CBE London’s Transport Commissioner said: “Cycling is clearly now a major transport option in London, with over 170,000 bike journeys now made across central London every single day.

These schemes will revolutionise cycling in the capital and further demonstrate how London is leading the way in making its roads safe for all road users.”

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