What may sound like a surreal joke one may toss after a few beers at the local pub is actually a very real proposal by Gensler : to transform London’s abandoned tube station into an underground cycling network for Londoners.
The London Underline would use dual tunnels, thus providing pedestrians the option to walk the distance underground while cyclists zoom past, gleaming at the lack of traffic. The tunnels would be lined with cafés (surprised much?) and click-and-collect points for online shopping.
But where are those vacant tunnels? Believe it or not, a whole network lies beneath our feet. A defunct branch of the Picadilly Line is the focus of this project (from Holborn to long-abandoned Aldwych station) but there is more – between Green Park and Charring Cross, Goodge Street and Stockwell.
How would you make such a colossal project financially viable? Kinetic paving, of course! The design would use footfall and friction from the tyres to generate electricity. To connect different sections, the firm also propose to survey old reservoir chambers for reuse.
Incredulous or ambitious? The London Underline isn’t the first alternative to cycling in London. In 2014, Norman Foster proposed SkyCycle, a network of elevated pathways above London’s railways. Reusing or building from scratch? I have my own preference.
What is yours?