Bill Nye: The city of the future—the city of the future will have bicycle-accessible places. Let’s say you live in the Nation’s capital, where it’s stupidly humid and hot, there’ll be a place to take a shower when you get to work. Furthermore, there’ll be laundry services, small businesses that come into being to service people that change their clothes when they get to the office. And the city of the future will have whatever the future equivalent is of wireless Wi-Fi everywhere so people don’t have to commute everywhere to conduct their business. They can have phone or video or intercom chats much more readily.
Then in the crazy Bill vision, in the nutty-way-out-there idea, there would be bicycle arterials that were, to the extent possible, weather-tight. That is to say, there would be roofs and tunnels and passages where you wouldn’t get soaking wet everywhere you rode. You wouldn’t be subject to headwinds everywhere you went. You could have bridges with louvers that direct wind through tunnels, and everybody who rode either way through the tunnel would have a tailwind. This is a crazy idea, but people have proposed it and it could be done, especially when you compare it with the cost of a modern roadway.
A roadway, you may not have thought about it, everybody, but it’s like a bridge. It has a structure that supports weight. And you’ve been on dirt roads and badly—or roads not suited to heavy vehicles--and they get dents and cracks and brakes and twists. So a roadway is like a bridge that’s floating on the soil. When you have to make those floating soil bridges strong enough to hold up or support a utility vehicle and commercial trucks, it gets thick and stiff and expensive. You could, for much less money, make a secure bike way that would last much longer than a roadway, be a much thinner bridge, but it would be dedicated to bicycles. You could do that if you were committed. And you’ll start to see that in places like Portland, Oregon and Seattle; these western states with sort of different ideas about their relationship to the environment and so on.
Directed / Produced by
Jonathan Fowler & Elizabeth Rodd