Europe Has Glow-in-the-Dark Bike Paths, Why Don’t We?
Parts of Europe have glowy bike paths. In a town in Poland they glow because they have a material in them called ‘phosphor’ that absorbs sunlight during the day and emits that stored light at night. According to the engineers who installed the lanes in Lidzbark Warmiński Poland, “The material we used for the track gives light for over ten hours. That means the road can radiate throughout the whole night and reaccumulate light the following day”. The engineering firm who built the path in 2016 is ‘TPA Instytut Badan‘.
In the Netherlands, artists and engineers famously laid down a bike path that glowed in a Van Gough ‘Starry Night’ inspired design. Their path used Solar-powered LED lights to make a beautiful bike path. The results are stunning, the path combines innovation with cultural heritage in the town of Nuenen NL, the place where Van Gogh lived in 1883. There’s is a beautiful, glowy, piece of public art that is environmentally friendly and acts to keep cyclists safer.
Now, flash to San Francisco, where our bike lanes are a ‘Hot Green’. Which does make them more visible during the day. But more of in a, ‘is this nickelodeon slime’ kind of way, and less in a ‘this is incredibly gorgeous, culturally relevant, environmentally sustainable, safety boosting and brilliant’ kind of way.
San Francisco Bike Lanes are the color of…nothing anyone wants to look at during the day or night. If we can light up the bay bridge in an iconic and gorgeous fashion, why can’t we get some of that Polish asphalt and light up our bike lanes too?
Imagine the beautification of our city with glowing lanes, of vibrant blue, or rainbow, or gold, crisscrossing it? Mayor London Breed this May, promised 20 more miles of protected bike lanes in SF. How about instead of making them ‘traffic vest green’, we make them a beautiful color, that lights up our streets at night? A sun-powered path that makes our streets safer, AND more beautiful? We can have both, if we think big enough.
In the town of Oss, in the Netherlands they built a road that is lit up with LED lights. And it looks like your driving in the movie Tron.
SMART HIGHWAY are interactive and sustainable roads of tomorrow by Daan Roosegaarde and Heijmans Infrastructure. Its goal is to make smart roads by using light, energy and information that interact with the traffic situation. SMART HIGHWAY consists of projects Glowing Lines, Dynamic Paint, Interactive Light, Induction Priority Lane, and Road Printer.
We’ve got a great, and influential SF Bicycle Coalition, a creative Public Arts Commission, followed by a new 12.2 billion dollar city budget. Not to mention a history of public projects with wonderful light artists like Leo Villareal (Bay Lights) and Jim Campbell (salesforce tower). So…why not?