Archives for posts with tag: tunnel

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.

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.

My journey into the tunnel is condensed to this 9 minute video.  The conditions were much better than expected due to the city’s construction activity and equipment closer to the west end.   However, I still found remnants of the decaying past with “no loitering” stenciled text and crumbling stairs that died into the ceiling.


music | kangding ray

This was once the Erie Canal and then the Rochester Subway. Now it stands abandoned and unused, but it holds the memories and traces of those who dare to explore. While this portion of the tunnel will probably survive the city’s tunnel project, others may not [].

While my project will focus more on what is indicated in orange  as the approximate area of the interchange, there will be a secondary component of the thesis at a larger urban scale. This component will begin to illustrate the beginnings of an emergent system of networks.  For this portion, I plan to use the abandoned subway tunnel [seen as red dotted line] as a distribution spine from the transit interchange.

I have been experimenting with Grasshopper to help demonstrate some distance mappings of possible routes to and from random points.  My second attempt to use the GH component “Shortest Walk” yielded some helpful results.  The idea is to visualize the existing subway tunnel as a spine that extends eastward from the interchange and towards Rochester’s downtown.  I used a measurement of 1/2 mile as the walking tolerance so see all the possible routes one would take from the tunnel path outward.  This GH definition is a simplified version of what may come in the near future.  I intend to incorporate other disruptions or attractions within the city’s downtown to model the more complex nuances of movement.

Screen shot | green = tunnel, red = suggested route, yellow = line connecting start and end points, red “x” = traveler, grey “x” = all possible intersection points [destinations] within 1/2 mile radius along tunnel

Grasshopper definition

As the semester draws to an end, my project proposal has become clearer for my intentions of proceeding into a thesis for next semester.  I am interested in studying transportation infrastructures of declining post-industrial cities  and their potential to inform and create emergent systems for urban regeneration.  Although my investigations will consist of three parts:  transit connectivity, their intersections, and these systems’ influence on the city, the focus will be an intervention [or a series] at the intersection[s] of transit networks.  I’ve created an ideogram illustrating a glimpse of a potential transit station that would provide a new armature for Rochester’s downtown.

Below is the PDF presentation I used for my mid-review.  It went well and was very helpful for me.  Next steps include investigating larger infrastructural systems and potential impacts to vacancy rates in Rochester [about 10%], making and testing a proposition for the city and a few other key goals.  There will be a lot to consider and much to investigate/explore, but that’s the fun part!

The full PDF can be downloaded here:  MIDREVIEW-presentation-sm72

As parking areas begin to cluster based on proximity to each other, the shortest distance is mapped to the subway tunnel. This process starts to reveal potential hotspots for interventions.

tunnel intervention locations from Jie Huang on Vimeo.

The underground component of the 1.5 miles of the subway is alluring, but it is just as important to familiarize ourselves with the above ground conditions. Where might potential generative armatures begin? What will they connect?  This animated route took us by at least a few parking lots and garages.  What about the vacant lots or excessively wide streets?