as if you needed one more good reason to ride a bicycle to work…

… SL (Storstockholms Lokaltrafik AB, the organisation running all of the land based public transport systems in Stockholm County) is giving you plenty during the upcoming weeks (months even).

From the 2nd of April at 04:00 to the 6th of April at 09:00 commuter trains will be cancelled in both directions between Stockholm C and Älvsjö. But that’s only the first reason.

Train commuters living south of Stockholm (Årsta) will be hit even harder next and should consider bicycle commuting to work rather soon: commuter trains will not be stopping at Årstaberg from the 6th of April (week 15) to the 2nd of August (week 31). That’s 17 weeks. SEVENTEEN weeks.

And last but not least, if one thought she would do just fine and travel by tram to Liljeholmen or Gullmarsplan to catch the red or green subway lines, one was wrong. Trams between Alvik and Sickla udde won’t run at all in July. Summer holidays I believe. Like last year.

As if you needed one more good reason to ride a bicycle to work, SL just delivered. Once again. Do you really want to fork 790 SEK out each month (or 300 SEK each week) for all the troubles? I sure don’t.

Don’t bother with longer and chaotic journeys with them. Get a bike already. For your own sake.

the times they are a-changin

Stockholm will probably not become a much less car-centric city overnight but talks and decisions begin to point in that direction and keep hope alive.

During summer 2012 Stockholm’s first indoor bicycle parking facility (capacity of 350 parking spaces) opened next to the train station in Älvsjö. Another one (capacity of 200 parking spaces) should be ready when the Odenplan station (along the Stockholm City Line1) opens in 2017 and now a third garage (capacity of 700 parking spaces) is planned next to Södra station (Stockholm South)2.

That’s good news for a lot of commuters and I just find it unfortunate that Dagens Nyheter chose to fuel the bikes versus cars debate and focus, right in the title, on the fact that the facility will not be opened for cars. Should a garage always be built with room for cars? No. How many cars can you park instead of 700 bicycles anyway? Not many. So why write such a thing?

The Bicycle Snake, Copenhagen
The Bicycle Snake, Copenhagen

Like it or not growing cities around the world can’t and won’t develop with private cars as the inevitable mode of transport in mind.

Stockholm, more than ever, has to concentrate on walking and cycling infrastructure and build a better mass transit system even if that means taking public space back from off-street and on-street parking facilities. There are around 36,000 on-street parking spots in central Stockholm (28,000 twenty years ago) and 1,500 are soon going to disappear to make room for the first of four planned dedicated bus lanes3. There’s no reason one should be stuck in traffic when using public transportation. Is there?

These two measures were in the news yesterday. They are likely to be followed by others. They’re going to piss off a few people and be labeled as green propaganda among other things. But hey. The times they are a-changin. Always.




bike the strike

If you are not commuting by bike already and don’t have a ready to ride bicycle it might be a good idea to start looking for this pump of yours and put some air in those tires you’ve been ignoring for too long.

Traffic is already bad in central Stockholm but it’s about to get worse as a public transport strike appears likely to kick off on Wednesday night and since I believe it’s unlikely you’re going to get your hands on an automobile from the royal carpool you’d better be considering the bicycling option already.

Bus lanes will be free from public transportation and – I give you that – it’ll be quite tempting to just use them as bonus car lanes but you probably won’t get away with it. Because you know, for you and me, well, certain things are allowed and others are just not and driving in a bus lane falls in the latter category.

Tomorrow evening there will be two kinds of taxpayers in Stockholm: those who’ll choose the cycling option and those who’ll be stuck in traffic behind the steering wheel.

And there will be a third kind of Stockholmers, the kind that won’t ride a bike, will drive in the bus lane and get away with it, the kind of Stockholmers who, given the circumstances, can do whatever they want. Because you know, for that third kind of people, certain things are allowed and others are just not but given the circumstances those things that are not allowed well… they are.

Bike the strike or get a royal blood transfusion. You have two options. Really.

SL gets new outdoor bus depot

I might have missed the news but I don’t think I’ve heard of anything like SL (the organisation running all of the land based public transport systems in Stockholm County) being allowed to park buses on bicycle lanes.

SL gets new outdoor bus depot

I’ve been cycling the same portion of Sveavägen (between Kungsgatan and Sergels torg) for the last 2 years and it’s only since the last couple of weeks that I’ve had to ride on the main road in order to avoid SL buses parked half on the parking area, half on the bike lane.

I did not mind at first but today I got tired of it and decided to stop for a quick shot. There were three buses in a row parked as bad as the one shown on the picture and I’ve got to ask SL: “when did it become OK to use the bicycle lane on Sveavägen to park buses?”

With a concrete wall on the left side of the road there is no way for car drivers to avoid a cyclist who is maneuvering around the bus. Does the situation look safe? Is the location supposed to be a bus depot in the first place?