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Re: [carfree_cities] Seattle monorail

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  • Todd J. Binkley
    Every urban elevated rail system I ve seen is indeed rather ugly. The worst part (assuming noise was controlled) is all that dark, dreary, useless space under
    Message 1 of 9 , Nov 4, 2000
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      Every urban elevated rail system I've seen is indeed rather ugly. The
      worst part (assuming noise was controlled) is all that dark, dreary,
      useless space under the tracks. This could in theory be mitigated by
      putting the tracks on top of the four-story, contiguous buildings lining
      Main street. This wouldn't be my first choice, and would probably be
      more expensive than digging tunnels in some existing areas. But imagine
      building a carfree 'reference district' on a site that was slated to
      include an extension of an existing elevated monorail system. If the
      piers and track were built first, then four-storey buildings were built
      under and around the rail infrastructure, as part of an integrated
      design that would conceal it from view of pedestrians below, then the
      only place it would be visible would be between buildings where it
      spanned cross streets. These bridges would be high enough to permit
      light beneath them, and could be incorporated into
      aesthetically-pleasing design elements such as arched 'city gate'-like
      structures, as well as fully-enclosed building space with 'sottoportego'
      below. The view from up there might be nice, and might contribute to
      that process of cognitively mapping the urban microcosm in which one
      lives (see pattern 62, HIGH PLACES, in Alexander's, 'A Pattern
      Language').

      -T.J.
    • J.H. Crawford
      ... One problem here: acoustic isolation of the tracks from the buildings may turn out to be an almost insurmountable problem. The tracks would have to bridge
      Message 2 of 9 , Nov 4, 2000
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        >Every urban elevated rail system I've seen is indeed rather ugly. The
        >worst part (assuming noise was controlled) is all that dark, dreary,
        >useless space under the tracks. This could in theory be mitigated by
        >putting the tracks on top of the four-story, contiguous buildings lining
        >Main street. This wouldn't be my first choice, and would probably be
        >more expensive than digging tunnels in some existing areas. But imagine
        >building a carfree 'reference district' on a site that was slated to
        >include an extension of an existing elevated monorail system. If the
        >piers and track were built first, then four-storey buildings were built
        >under and around the rail infrastructure, as part of an integrated
        >design that would conceal it from view of pedestrians below, then the
        >only place it would be visible would be between buildings where it
        >spanned cross streets. These bridges would be high enough to permit
        >light beneath them, and could be incorporated into
        >aesthetically-pleasing design elements such as arched 'city gate'-like
        >structures, as well as fully-enclosed building space with 'sottoportego'
        >below. The view from up there might be nice, and might contribute to
        >that process of cognitively mapping the urban microcosm in which one
        >lives (see pattern 62, HIGH PLACES, in Alexander's, 'A Pattern
        >Language').

        One problem here: acoustic isolation of the tracks from the buildings
        may turn out to be an almost insurmountable problem. The tracks would
        have to bridge the buildings, resting at regular intervals on piers
        that were completely isolated from the adjacent buildings. All possible,
        but difficult, I think. If we ever get working maglev at a price
        we can afford, the situation might be different--there's no wheel noise.

        A further advantage of underground systems is that they are totally
        unaffected by weather, excepting only floods.




        ###

        J.H. Crawford Carfree Cities
        postmaster@... Carfree.com
      • Ronald Dawson
        ... Of what you wrote it reminds me of the New York Central Railroad s West Side Line on Manhattan. http://www.railroad.net/nyc/westside.html
        Message 3 of 9 , Nov 4, 2000
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          Todd J. Binkley wrote:


          >Every urban elevated rail system I've seen is indeed rather ugly. The
          >worst part (assuming noise was controlled) is all that dark, dreary,
          >useless space under the tracks. This could in theory be mitigated by
          >putting the tracks on top of the four-story, contiguous buildings lining
          >Main street. This wouldn't be my first choice, and would probably be
          >more expensive than digging tunnels in some existing areas. But imagine
          >building a carfree 'reference district' on a site that was slated to
          >include an extension of an existing elevated monorail system. If the
          >piers and track were built first, then four-storey buildings were built
          >under and around the rail infrastructure, as part of an integrated
          >design that would conceal it from view of pedestrians below, then the
          >only place it would be visible would be between buildings where it
          >spanned cross streets. These bridges would be high enough to permit
          >light beneath them, and could be incorporated into
          >aesthetically-pleasing design elements such as arched 'city gate'-like
          >structures, as well as fully-enclosed building space with 'sottoportego'
          >below. The view from up there might be nice, and might contribute to
          >that process of cognitively mapping the urban microcosm in which one
          >lives (see pattern 62, HIGH PLACES, in Alexander's, 'A Pattern
          >Language').

          Of what you wrote it reminds me of the New York Central Railroad's West Side
          Line on Manhattan. http://www.railroad.net/nyc/westside.html
          http://bjr.acf.nyu.edu/railinfo/car-floats/nyc-lwsrrl.html

          Plus what happened in Vienna on where the old city wall use to be.
          http://www.uncanny.net/~wetzel/vienna.htm

          Here in Montreal, south of Central Station there is a long viaduct with
          buildings incorporated into the structure.
          http://www.emdx.qc.ca/rail/DeuxMontagnes/Tunnel/CarteDuTunnel.jpg
          http://www.emdx.qc.ca/rail/GareCentrale/
          A Central Station interior shot.
          http://montreal.cityvu.com/visions/vmtl2408.jpg
          This photo show our former commuter locomotives out on the viaduct.
          http://davesrailpix.railfan.net/odds/qu/htm/cn035.htm Dawson
        • Erik Rauch
          The Schwebebahn in the German city of Wuppertal, an overhead monorail, is a point of local pride. It was built 100 years ago and recently renovated. It carries
          Message 4 of 9 , Nov 19, 2000
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            The Schwebebahn in the German city of Wuppertal, an overhead monorail,
            is a point of local pride. It was built 100 years ago and recently
            renovated. It carries 25 million passengers a year in a city with
            390,000 inhabitants. My recollection is that the space under it is not
            unpleasant, though it probably has the same noise problems as elevated
            trains.

            http://www.uni-wuppertal.de/wuppertal/schwebebahn
            In English: http://www.wsw-online.de/seiten/schwebebahn/english.html

            --- In carfree_cities@egroups.com, "J.H. Crawford" <postmaster@c...>
            wrote:
            >
            > Mark Watson said:
            >
            > >Chicago's dark streets below the 'L' are another example
            >
            > (of the unpleasant space beneath elevated transport systems)
            >
            > Let's remember that Boston is spending more than $13 BILLION
            > to put an overhead freeway underground. Carfree Cities has a
            > picture of an elevated station in New York, seen from underneath.
            > Nobody in his right mind would want one of these things in his
            > neighborhood.
            >
            >
            >
            > ###
            >
            > J.H. Crawford Carfree
            Cities
            > postmaster@c... Carfree.com
          • Ronald Dawson
            ... The Schwebebahn system in Wuppertal is an impressive thing, but also we have to remember that a lot of the ROW (right of way) is above a river. Dawson
            Message 5 of 9 , Nov 19, 2000
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              Erik Rauch wrote:
              >The Schwebebahn in the German city of Wuppertal, an overhead monorail,
              >is a point of local pride. It was built 100 years ago and recently
              >renovated. It carries 25 million passengers a year in a city with
              >390,000 inhabitants. My recollection is that the space under it is not
              >unpleasant, though it probably has the same noise problems as elevated
              >trains.
              >
              >http://www.uni-wuppertal.de/wuppertal/schwebebahn
              >In English: http://www.wsw-online.de/seiten/schwebebahn/english.html

              The Schwebebahn system in Wuppertal is an impressive thing, but also we have
              to remember that a lot of the ROW (right of way) is above a river. Dawson

              P.S. For some good photos of it, go to http://www.lightrail.co.uk/wsw/ .
            • J.H. Crawford
              ... The rennovation may actually have been the cause of the only accident a year or two ago--one of the cars hit a maintenance platform, as I recall. The car
              Message 6 of 9 , Nov 20, 2000
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                Erik Rauch said:

                >The Schwebebahn in the German city of Wuppertal, an overhead monorail,
                >is a point of local pride. It was built 100 years ago and recently
                >renovated. It carries 25 million passengers a year in a city with
                >390,000 inhabitants. My recollection is that the space under it is not
                >unpleasant, though it probably has the same noise problems as elevated
                >trains.
                >
                >http://www.uni-wuppertal.de/wuppertal/schwebebahn
                >In English: http://www.wsw-online.de/seiten/schwebebahn/english.html

                The rennovation may actually have been the cause of the only
                accident a year or two ago--one of the cars hit a maintenance
                platform, as I recall. The car crashed into the canal below,
                killing a couple of people as I recall.

                The photos I've seen are not at all attractive. The thing is
                built on large pylons that raise it fairly high above the canal
                above which it runs, and the bridging between the pylons is
                not particularly attractive, either. I'll bet it all makes
                plenty of noise, too.

                I stick by my guns: overhead systems are to be avoided.
                I wouldn't be surprised if the canal is essentially no
                longer used. I'd be interested to know if the canal could
                be drained, the tracks set in the canal bed and then
                covered over to make a greenbelt/bikeway/whatever. Then
                all those ugly pylons could come down.




                ###

                J.H. Crawford Carfree Cities
                postmaster@... Carfree.com
              • Lanyon, Ryan
                Wow, is that ever intrusive on the urban landscape! I wonder if it blocks sufficient amounts of sunlight to affect the ecosystems of the river? -RL
                Message 7 of 9 , Nov 20, 2000
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                  Wow, is that ever intrusive on the urban landscape! I wonder if it blocks
                  sufficient amounts of sunlight to affect the ecosystems of the river?

                  -RL

                  > -----Original Message-----
                  > From: Ronald Dawson [SMTP:rdadddmd@...]
                  > Sent: Monday, November 20, 2000 12:35 AM
                  > To: carfree_cities@egroups.com
                  > Subject: RE: [carfree_cities] Re: Seattle monorail
                  >
                  > Erik Rauch wrote:
                  > >The Schwebebahn in the German city of Wuppertal, an overhead monorail,
                  > >is a point of local pride. It was built 100 years ago and recently
                  > >renovated. It carries 25 million passengers a year in a city with
                  > >390,000 inhabitants. My recollection is that the space under it is not
                  > >unpleasant, though it probably has the same noise problems as elevated
                  > >trains.
                  > >
                  > >http://www.uni-wuppertal.de/wuppertal/schwebebahn
                  > >In English: http://www.wsw-online.de/seiten/schwebebahn/english.html
                  >
                  > The Schwebebahn system in Wuppertal is an impressive thing, but also we
                  > have
                  > to remember that a lot of the ROW (right of way) is above a river.
                  > Dawson
                  >
                  > P.S. For some good photos of it, go to http://www.lightrail.co.uk/wsw/ .
                  >
                  >
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