Have you seen the Streets for Cycling Plan 2020? The "Spoke Routes" are the same concept.
Our Spoke Routes are a start, but I suspect it will take another generation or two of bike improvements to get close to what Copenhagen has. At least we're starting to move in the right direction.
Meanwhile, is there any word on when we'll get Vincennes, particularly the middle portion? I'm sure the viaducts at 83rd are the biggest bottleneck. It will be much more critical to have this become a viable bike route when the south side red line is shut down next summer.
To be fair, Copenhagen is 34 sq mi for the city and 1,170 sq mi for the metro area, compared to 234 sq mi and 10,874 sq mi for Chicago and the Chicago metro area. So a ride from the Copenhagen suburbs would be like a ride from far neighborhoods of Chicago.
The Copenhagen bike super highway costs about $ 1 million per mile. It is paid for by the city of Copenhagen and the surrounding municipalities and it has support from across the political spectrum because they see it as a vital need that will save millions of dollars in transportation, health care and environmental costs. I'm sorry to say, but this will never happen in Chicago or any other metro area in the US. Not now nor 50 years from now. As a country we just don't get it and sadly never will.
For me Copenhagen is the new Portland, meaning I'm absolutely sick of fucking hearing about how great it is. It's a great cycling city and we can learn a lot from it, but it's not an idol on a pedestal. Chicago, like every city in the world, needs to find it's own path in city planning , while still relying on best practices. What works there won't always work here and vice versa. Case in point: the suburbs. There are some especially bicycle friendly suburbs, but not all of them. Some of them don't even want trails, let alone on-street facilities. How can Chicago link to them if their governments are vehemently anti-cycling? Does it make sense to strand a cyclist at the city's Western border? This is something totally out of the hands of Chicago and CDOT. The Chicago and the region, therefore, needs to find its own solutions to these problems rather than fetishizing the examples of Northern European cities.
I prefer to look at what Chicago is doing and marvel at it for it's own merits: the city is transforming cycling infrastructure at an astonishing rate. Could it be better, or more engineered specifically for cyclists, or have work done more quickly or more cheaply? Sure, but what is being done is unprecedented for Chicago and its cycling community. We're part of something huge right now - enjoy it.
London's planned SkyCycle, a network of toll bikeways elevated above the rest of traffic. Interesting idea.