Tubes? Tedious. Buses? Banal. Cars? Commonplace. Swimming…sorry? Yes, you that read correctly, swimming is now being proposed as a new form of public transport. The project, which came runner-up in the Landscape Institute High Line competition (the underground mushroom park was the judges’ favourite), was conceived from the furrowed brows of Alex Smith and David Lomax and recommends that a stretch of Regent’s Canal be turned into a swimmable commuting route. The LidoLine would be a clean ‘basin’ inserted into the canal, allowing commuters to safely swim alongside boats separated by a three-layer membrane to filter the water. Like the tube, there would be a series of stations along route, where lockers and changing facilities would allow the amphibious commuter to change from speedo to suit, swimsuit to skirt, in time for their morning meeting. In the winter, Smith and Lomax have also suggested that some of the lanes be frozen to provide a high speed skating link.
The project would also hope to re-energise the once burgeoning commerciality of the canal; in place of raw materials, the canal would guide a steady stream of labour to the workplace. Each of the LidoLine stations would be also transformed into lively public spaces by night, hosting outdoor cinema screenings and canal-side events. Plus the whole project is not only environmentally friendly (carbon free and an attractive diversion from heavily trafficked roads) but also a healthy way to travel. It might not have come first in the contest, but we think LidoLine is a winning idea. Matthew Bremner