Archives for posts with tag: transportation

The car-less development of Masdar in Abu Dhabi has introduced a new line of rapid transit as seen above in the area’s underbelly.  Each vehicle seats 4 and runs on electricity that plugs into charging stations.  Each 1.5 hour charge allows for 37 miles of travel.  It’s an interesting take on alternative transit.

Could this happen in Rochester’s tunnel?  Perhaps it’s a vehicle with a larger capacity that runs from one end to the other and stops at every intersection as identified in the last post.  In this manner, the tunnel literally becomes a distribution spine.

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The tunnel becomes an organizational spine for a series of transfer opportunities [shown as red bars along the dotted tunnel line].  I have identified 3 unique conditions [in yellow] where each would have a different type of complexity, expansiveness and engagement to its adjacent community.

The following is a quick series of diagrams showing linking options for multiple transit networks.   For example, using the a hybrid of ramps to stairs to connect the rail line to the surface road.  Some examples emphasize the literal physical link between various travel networks, others begin to address the need for shelter at these links, but they all try to begin a common visual language in response to the various typologies of physical intersections so they can work together as a larger image throughout the city.

 

building_surface road_tunnel

 

highway _ surface road

 

railway_surface road

 

surface road_tunnel

 

railway_surface road_tunnel

 

highway_surface road_tunnel

The review went well and I received very helpful feedback for the project.  As I proceed, I need to consider the following:

In the diagram above, I’ve identified some downtown attractions [seen in red] and they are all located within, a very walkable, 1/2 mile of the tunnel [dotted line].   I propose to re-purpose the abandoned tunnel as a distribution spine for not only bringing and dispersing people into the city, but also creating public gathering spaces such as places for events seen in the example from last year’s World Canal Conference.  In other words, how could we make it an integral part of Rochester’s civic life?  We don’t want a corridor, but a series of places where people have the opportunity to linger and connect to the rest of the city.

This early diagram illustrates the abundance of parking lots and some vacant lots throughout downtown.  They are the result of the strong single occupant car culture of today.  How can we rethink this transportation structure and change the perception of these parking spaces as potential opportunities to engage the larger network of transit and civic life.  Are there specific places [i.e. the public library] in downtown that the tunnel could connect to because of its proximity?

The above diagram is in its early stages, but begins to show a set of physical conditions of network intersections found along the western portion of the tunnel.  To the left are potential actions that could take place given the type of intersection.  After the identifying the moments of connections along the tunnel, I will need to develop spatial and operational models for interchanges that transfer people from one mode of transit to another.  Are they stairs, ramps, elevators, or any other means?  The intersections will then become a series of prototypical hubs responses to found conditions, but when read together, begins to weave a larger idea of the city and how people traverse through and interact with it.   This kit-of-parts approach allows for flexibility within the systems even though there would be a couple of unique moments for anchors or special attractions along the spine.

In addition to the conceptual development [or abstract, as seen above] of connecting the various transit networks, there is the realistic and almost scientific side to this project.  That involves the differentiation between networks because of the inherent qualities of travel speed, transit type and transit goal of each system.  How do the connections reflect these characteristics?  What other operational programs are needed at these moments?

There is much work to be done and it will be an exciting and fast-paced month ahead.

While Curitiba‘s rapid bus transit system is more familiar to the world, Bogotá also has an exciting and successful one of its own [TransMilenio] where the city’s original plans to build elevated highways were eliminated in lieu of a more robust bus system.  Their buses are somewhat like subways in that they have their own lanes and passengers pay at stations [instead at the entry of each bus].  There are also free feeder buses that transport people in the outer areas to the stations as well as free bicycle parking at the stations to encourage people to bike to and from the stations.  Take a look at the video below to learn more about the system.

For Spanish readers, you can visit the TransMilenio website.

I recently came across the organization Rail~Volution that is trying to initiate a national movement to develop “livable communities with transit. Livable communities are those that are healthy, economically vibrant, socially equitable, and environmentally sustainable.”  See what some of the people who recently attended the conference are talking about.

I found some information on the commuters of Monroe County [where Rochester is located].  Not surprisingly, the majority of commuters work commute 10-25 minutes away from home and most drive alone.  This is not a unique condition, but is prevalent all over this country.  Are there ways to shift that large number of drivers towards some other alternate modes of transport?  Could we alter the image and experience of these alternatives?  One place to start is to imagine a series of multi-nodal interchanges where various modes of transportation meet and become a point of intense intersections.  These could then connect and link to other smaller distribution and so on.  These points could also become attractors for the less occupied downtown and perhaps could one day become one of vibrancy.

 

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information based on data from the US Census Bureau

 

The public bus system, in many cases across the US, tend to have a stigma associated with it.  How can we begin to transform this perception in a city dominated by suburban commuters?  Could we change the current social standing of riding the bus to one that is efficient and enjoyable?

I came across a new generation of design for a series of bus stops developed by MIT’s SENSEable Cities Lab called EyeStop.  It’s solar powered and runs interactive programs such as live updates on the status of the bus.

There is so much redevelopment activity happening in Rochester right now.  In addition to the plan to replace the current Amtrak station in Rochester, a new bus terminal in downtown is also in the works.

Since I am investigating a network of intersections as transfer stations, I thought it would be best to map the current transit systems/routes in downtown.  They include the river, train, bus and bike.

river + city streets

river + city streets + train

river + city streets + train + bus routes

river + city streets + train + bike routes

river + city streets + train + bike routes + bus routes

river + city streets + train + bike routes + bus routes + newly proposed train and bus station

I’ve started to take a quick survey of various transportation projects, both realized and not, in an effort to get a feel of what type of physical and social intersections they possess.  They range from strict transportation interchanges to integrated shopping centers.

OMA-Barcelona Airport Terminal, 1992 competition entry

Transbay Terminal by Richard Rogers, 2007

 

Kamppi Center, Helsinki, Finland by Juhani Pallasmaa, 2001-5

This transportation center includes a central bus terminal for both local and long distance buses, metro station, freight train, parking, shopping center, and residential housing.

While these projects are too ambitious in scale for a city like Rochester, it is interesting to see what is out there and the types of formal, experiential, and social conditions they might bring to a place.