27 December 2016

The big kiss

On top of the list Things I Forgot To Share 2016, is the big kiss. Remember the troubled bike and pedestrian bridge that kept getting delayed? Inderhavnsbroen, or The Kissing Bridge, as it was nicknamed for its sliding function, just didn’t seem to catch a break. It was close, but no cigar for years, until one summer day.

On July 7th the internet starting buzzing: it is opening today! The City first denied such an event, but eventually caved and announced the good news: the bridge is ready for traffic. The grand and official opening was scheduled for a month later, but what was the sense in postponing such a blessing, for thousands of daily commuters? 

The bridge is a crucial link between central Copenhagen, Christianshavn and Amager, without which cyclists and pedestrians have been forced to take a senseless detour alongside heavy traffic. Needless to say, we had been aching for this kiss. So bad.

This new connection forms a straight line from the lakes, a popular bike-route which has prompted the city to widen the bike lanes. During construction we share the available infrastructure, and on this happy day that coincided with a red carpet EU event. Crossing a red carpet on bike, on the sidewalk with smiling police officers standing by. Surreal.

Red carpet

Oh, Copenhagen

Widening of bike lane

Compared to the space the cars next to it takes up (wastes), this widening is not much, but to cyclists it makes a huge difference. It reduces tension and creates safe passage for riders at all paces and of all sizes.

A few shots of the almost-there-hold-it-hold-it bridge.

The Kissing Bridge, opening day

Pedestrian side of the Kissing Bridge

Pedestrian side of the bridge. A bridge that really feels more like a road, with a wide, bidirectional lane for bikes and separate space for pedestrians. What it may lack in grace, it makes up for in functionality.

The Kissing Bridge, opening day

Beautiful underbelly, tickle, tickle.

Copenhagernes picking up on the rumors, flocked to witness the first kiss.

Ready, steady...

First two to cross the bridge: Mayor of trees and bikes Morten Kabell and Klaus Bondam, of the Danish Cyclists Federation:

First two to cross the Kissing Bridge

Second two to cross the bridge: the girls!

Second two to cross the Kissing Bridge

A fine moment in Copenhagen history.

The wise delay of this post, gives me the opportunity to follow up with the effect of our much anticipated piece of infrastructure. Six months in, it is deemed a resounding success. Numbers of daily users have by far exceeded all expectations. In November the city announced a count of 14.150 cyclists on the Kissing Bridge, in just one day! It has been attributed a crucial part of the reason bikes outnumbers cars in Copenhagen, for the first time since the 1970s.

No one cares how it long it took to get here, or at what cost. A kiss this good is totally worth it.


Kissing links:


4 comments:

  1. I live right next to the kissing bridge and I try to avoid it when ever I can. I am a serious biker who have biked since I sat on my moms bike back in the 1960'es. If I can bike i'll bike, but I hate this bridge because its 1. not nice to bike on 2. not created for locals. Its a bridge for tourists and occasinal bikers. Sad but true
    Regards Susanne

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    1. Hi Susanne,

      Nice to hear from you. I am not sure what "a serious biker" is, though. Maybe just someone who gets around on a bike every day, like the rest of Copenhagen? I would agree with you on the first point, it is a steep bridge with some hard turns, more like a road than a bridge. Nothing like the rush of crossing the bicycle snake further down the harbour.

      But I wholly disagree with you on the second part. More than 10.000 people cross that bridge on a daily basis, and there is no way that is all tourists. I know plenty of people who work, live and study on the other side of that bridge, who use it daily and love it madly.

      Funny how we Copenhageners can see something so differently. For me, living on Nørrebro, it has brought that part of Copenhagen so much closer. And I am grateful to be able to avoid Knippelsbro and especially Strandgade, by crossing the big kiss.

      Hi from Sandra

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  2. I think anything that encourages biking... and exploring your own city... is cool. One of the things that I miss most about living in CPH is the freedom of biking as transportation. Enjoy the bridge! :)

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    1. I completely agree. This bridge is a major improvement to the Copenhagen bike infrastructure, just talking about it makes me want to cross it again. : )

      Even when I am visiting other cities, I always wish I could safely explore them by bike.

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