The Eye

New Zealand Turned a Former Highway Offramp Into a Shocking Pink Bike Path

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Russ Flatt

While a project is underway to make a bike path that would stretch along the East Coast of the U.S., in Auckland, New Zealand, some clever designers have covered a former highway offramp with a shocking pink nonslip resin to create a bike path that has just been shortlisted for this year’s World Architecture Awards.

Designed by Monk Mackenzie architects and landscape architecture firm LandLab, the Nelson Street Cycleway (known as “the Light Path”) opened in December and has already been christened by more than 100,000 cyclists.

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Russ Flatt

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Russ Flatt

The 0.37-mile offramp turned bike path cuts through the surrounding asphalt like a pink ribbon, a bold and unconventional piece of urban infrastructure if there ever was one. How did the designers settle on that particularly vibrant shade of pink?

“From the outset we wanted something extremely vivid to contrast against the highway network it passes through,” partner Dean Mackenzie told me in an email. He said that they wanted to pick a color that didn’t connote a bus or typical bike lane (which in New Zealand, tend to be green or blue).

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Russ Flatt

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Russ Flatt

They considered bright oranges, yellows, reds, and pinks, before settling on a shade known as telemagenta. “Pink is a colour that a lot of people seem to be afraid of using (and hence not commonly used),” he said, “and we also felt looked beautiful against black.”

Mackenzie said that they approached the project as “a citywide artwork” that “had to be considered at that scale rather than just for the cyclist or pedestrian on the bridge.” In addition to the swath of pink, they installed 300 individual LED light poles at the eastern edge of the bike path to create a programmable interactive “spine” that transforms the space at dusk.

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Russ Flatt

Check out the video below to see happy cyclists of all ages using the bike path: