Sky Tunnels of Toronto

As the above text describes – and as you can read here – architect Chris Hardwicke has recently proposed a network of elevated bike trails – glass tunnels soaring above Toronto, in a “dynamic air circulation loop” – that would allow city residents to travel by bicycle at speeds of up to 40kph.
It would look like this:

Two thoughts: 1) the Tour de France of the future will be a Tour de Sky Tunnels of Toronto; and 2) why not build a moving version, nomadic, hinged, flexible, a kind of glass octopus of dynamic sky-routes, accessible only by pedestrians, going nowhere except into itself, knot-like, a mobile marathon route torquing above the city at night, reflective, looping over Roncesvalles, utopian junctions in space?

(Spotted at Archinect).

21 thoughts on “Sky Tunnels of Toronto”

  1. I’d rather bike along oak ridge moraine listening to the sound of streams and be interrupted by squirrels. It’s just another highway of bikes.

  2. Some of us are nowhere near Oak Ridge moraine, and the local best is a quiet tree-lined street of functionally identical houses. Bo-bo-boring. Give me a tethered airborne veloroute, or even just a footpath. It would sure revitalise the idea of going for a nice walk. Howeever, I would suggest that cycling in these airborne tubes be uni-directional, so that the combined friction of dozens, hundreds of cyclists would spin itin the opposing direction, and that the whole thing would act as a giant turbine. similarly, if a given tube were simply cyclindrical, the pavement could spiral around the inside, like the chase on a drill, and cyclists could have an experience somewhat like weightlessness when the tube they ride in is spinning around on its linear axis. Of course, the fun starts when the get to an end. Or as Geoff says, if the thing was built in a corkscrew shape, a helical coil, or a Moebius strip. The great ghing about all of these is that they derive their power from combined efforts, magnifying the effect that any one rider would have, and giving the group an experience unattainable by individuals.

  3. Maybe if we all could use one of these, or at least one of these, make it a liiitle more exciting. Maybe keep a constant circulation, day and night, and power some serious city works shit by generating energy from all of this hamster tunnel luging…I’m down, sign me up for the first race.

  4. “…what if they introduced squirrels into the tunnels? In huge packs? And you could do loop-the-loops?”

    …I assumed performing loop-the-loops (loop-de-loops?) were a requisite to use the tunnel.

    Would/could/should any part(s) of it be on fire?

  5. What are the technical requirements to get a platform spinning fast enough that it can lift the combined weight of cyclists, so that they could all go for a spin above the neighborhood? The human-powered stuff seems to focus on individuals rather than groups, when with water-borne activity, it’s clear that group efforts accomplish so much more. Why wouldn’t this be true of airborne activity too? Scale up the spinning propellor toys that lift themselves off the ground. How many bikers does it take to get off the ground? The skies could be a safe route for cycle commuters. Spinning discs hovering their way along between helipads. Choreographed nightime displays of wheels on fire (heat adds lift)or used as projection screens when a lightweight fabric is stretched across the disc.

  6. From the artist impression I can see one major flaw! In the summer the cyclist will boil to death in this tube. I have done some work for a company that has a similar pedestrian tube between buildings and they have to close it down on hot days because it actually becomes dangerously hot.

  7. Another problem with the rendering is that they mention one-way routes to create a natural tail-wind, though it’s clearly two-way in the pretty picture.

    Not only does that defeat part of the purpose of tunnels, it’s mighty dangerous.

    I’m wondering if roller bladers would be able to use it? My vote would be NO WAY!

  8. I’m just happy they show a recumbent bike so prominently in the rendering – viva recumbency!

    One-way-only tubes do seem to make more safety sense. A benefit the bike paths have over car traffic, of course, is if someone is in a hurry they can be yelling “On your left I’m late to a meetiiiinnngggg….” as they whizz past – impossible in cars.

  9. Does Toronto ever get warm enough to warm the air in a tube? If so, what kind of updraft could we expect?

    Conversely, how cold will those things get in winter? Cold enough to make a toboggan run? what if bicycles were replaced with tiny ball bearings and luges? Talk about high-speed commuting!

  10. The more useless this thing gets, the better. Motion-sculptures in space. Movement for its own sake. The toroid over Toronto.

    And, yes, why not – set it on fire sometimes. New Year’s Eve. Dive down into the lake.

    And when it gets too hot, or everyone’s bored of it, you turn the whole thing into a greenhouse, knotted above the rooftops of the city, photosynthesizing through complex glassine loops. The ultimate film set. Logan’s Run 2.

  11. i say klein bottle that sucker so you can slip between the cookin’ tube and chilly exterior. sort of a loop-de-loop-de-whoop!
    (and i am so taking my segway on that puppy.)

  12. Why not fill it with water? An aquarium in the sky. A deep oceanic riverine current but on stilts and theter. Watch eels slithering their way through the interlocking tubular loop-de-loop-de-whoop. Or a pack of migrating humpback whales — the latest leg on their Darwinian odyssey…from sea to land then back again and finally to the skies. And if the entire structure collapses, well…back to land again in a sort of Douglas Adams fantasia. And why not some bioluminescent hatchetfishes, twinkling in the night sky where stars have long been blotted out by urban light pollution. Surely a very romantic evening can be had under the the shimmering Aquarium in the Sky. Until…of course…a 40-ton humback whale comes plunging down.

  13. what an interesting idea and vision!!!!

    only problem, that someone mentioned here, that need 2b solved is the high temperture…
    if not, it can be an amzing trip to make by foot, what a sight!

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