Elevated cycle lane floated as option
The government is being urged to consider building a 20-kilometre elevated bicycle lane beneath the Airport Rail Link, as an alternative for cyclists commuting between eastern Bangkok and the heart of the city.
The route would be the first of its kind in Thailand, said Suchatvee Suwansawat, dean of King Mongkut's Institute of Technology Ladkrabang and president of Council of Engineers Thailand.
The bike lane would be made of a strong but lightweight metal that could be attached to the Airport Rail Link's stanchions, said Mr Suchatvee, who floated the idea.
The Airport Rail Link stretches 28.6km from Suvarnabhumi Airport to Phaya Thai district.
The proposed elevated cycle route will, however, start from the line's Lat Krabang station and run to Phaya Thai station, he said.
The electric rail line above would serve as a roof, while exit and entrance ramps for cyclists would be installed at the Airport Rail Link's stations, namely Lat Krabang, Thap Chang, Phraram 9, Hua Mak, Ramkhamhaeng, Phetchaburi, Makkasan, Ratchaprarop and Phaya Thai.
The bike lane would be a solution to key challenges in promoting cycling as a green alternative for commuting between inner Bangkok and its outer suburbs, he said.
Cycling is still not a viable commuting alternative because the city lacks a safe network of bike lanes, while the weather is too hot for cycling, and levels of ultra-fine dust particles and traffic fumes on Bangkok's roads are too high, he said.
No estimate for the cost of the bike-lane project has been offered yet.
Mr Suchatvee also encouraged the government to consider improving convenience for cyclists, such as by dedicating a zone in every government office to bicycle parking.
"Aside from being a green alternative for city commuters, cycling will also help promote good health for the city's residents," he said.
Cycling is already a popular means of commuting and transport in many cities around the world, from Boston in the United States to Beijing in China, he said.