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Old November 28th, 2011, 11:29 PM   #381
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Nima-Farid,

You seem to have this insatiable fetish for motorways, but what you've completely failed to realize is that, if motorways were built right through Paris or Manhattan (New York) in the 1960s, those cities wouldn't be considered beautiful or exciting today. Many people like living in cities that are cities. Maybe Iran just recently discovered the motorway, but many of us that grew up with it, hate it.

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Originally Posted by poshbakerloo View Post
The thing is that people look at city planning as a technical and theoretic exercise...When in reality its more about our human wants and needs...

A load of urban motorways may work in a more practical and efficient manner but so much of London would have been lost...
No, urban motorways are not practical or efficient. This was the expectation back during the mid-20th century, and it turned out to be wrong by the 1980s. During peak travel times, urban motorways do not transport people more efficiently than urban trains do. Many urban motorways all over the world become parking lots during peak traffic times. And adding lanes or new motorways has never solved the problem (Los Angeles keeps adding and adding motorways, but traffic congestion never eases).

Motorways should be for outside of the core of a city (like in the suburbs), and for intercity travel. Never intra-urban. They don't work well intra-urban. At all.

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Originally Posted by Suburbanist View Post
Many residential streets in US also appear large because their houses have large setbacks. But I like setbacks: they create healthy open space and increased privacy without resorting to the claustrophobibaction of streets with massive vegetation, walls etc.
You're at the wrooooooong place, my friend. Skyscrapercity is an urban-friendly forum.

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Originally Posted by Rebasepoiss View Post
A large setback seems like waste of space to me. There's nothing you can really do there.
Bingo. And it's so ironic how much conservatives (specifically American conservatives) don't mind waste when it comes to urban matters, when they preach about being frugal on everything else. Suburbanism wastes space, as you demonstrated, and it also wastes tax money and resources. 1 mile of paved road or sewer in a suburb serves far fewer people than 1 mile of paved road or sewer in the city. Suburbanism is such a waste of resources. A highly-suburban society is living way beyond its means.
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Old November 29th, 2011, 12:51 AM   #382
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Quote:
Originally Posted by skyduster View Post
No, urban motorways are not practical or efficient. This was the expectation back during the mid-20th century, and it turned out to be wrong by the 1980s. During peak travel times, urban motorways do not transport people more efficiently than urban trains do. Many urban motorways all over the world become parking lots during peak traffic times. And adding lanes or new motorways has never solved the problem (Los Angeles keeps adding and adding motorways, but traffic congestion never eases).
With very few exceptions, even in congested cities like Madrid, Chicago or Sydney (I don't know about Asian cities), the average speed of commute of whomever uses a car is faster than that of a transit commuter.

It is naive to make comparisons like a slow-moving urban expressway with an unimpeded adjacent train line, for instance, because the advantage of cars reveal themselves on not requiring transfers, having zero waiting time (you just turn it on and go), and being extremely efficient for last-mile connections. Really, even a car crawling at 15 km/h speed will be faster than any human walking and most humans cycling.

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Motorways should be for outside of the core of a city (like in the suburbs), and for intercity travel. Never intra-urban. They don't work well intra-urban. At all.
Even if your anti-highway hate were a paradigm, you would still need connections between highways approaching a given city from different directions. After all, something nobody wants is passing traffic in urban streets or boulevards. Even in Green-hijacked city governments around Europe, there is usually support for highway bypasses, tunnels or whatever that make people going from A to C avoiding crossing urban roads of city B that is in the middle of them.

Los Angeles, Houston, Miami, Dallas, Phoenix metro areas, for all the "car-centric" criticism they take, all have average commute times LOWER than those of Chicago and New York metro areas. So apparently urban freeways make in connectivity what they lack, on peak time, in capacity.

Bu then, the average transit activist will say "well, people should live close to work then instead of 40 subway stations and 8 bus stops apart from their workplace"
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Old November 29th, 2011, 01:35 AM   #383
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The point about Madrid, Chicago and Sydney assumes that not everybody drives. If everybody drove to work in dense cities, you would need to invest A LOT in urban motorways to maintain the same average speed.

And suburbanist, your philosophy assumes that a street is merely a transport corridor between buildings which is most definitely isn't and it's only the car-centric view of the 20th century that makes people think that. To put it in your "economical" terms, as you like to call them, building an elevated motorway in the city centre results in indirect monetary losses to living quality (noise, air and visual pollution) local businesses and real estate value which you decide to not take into account.

It's fairly logical that city bypasses are favoured even by green voters since they prevent the city from becoming a transport corridor for whoever wants to get to the other side of it.
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Old November 29th, 2011, 01:42 AM   #384
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Old November 29th, 2011, 05:43 AM   #385
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Quote:
Originally Posted by skyduster View Post
Nima-Farid,

You seem to have this insatiable fetish for motorways, but what you've completely failed to realize is that, if motorways were built right through Paris or Manhattan (New York) in the 1960s, those cities wouldn't be considered beautiful or exciting today. Many people like living in cities that are cities. Maybe Iran just recently discovered the motorway, but many of us that grew up with it, hate it.
First of all I don't agree with building freeways in the dense central part of the city (Downtown) but not all cities with motorways are ugly and unliveable. Just look at Singapore or Tokyo or Hong Kong. And to decrease the traffic bus lanes or tramway and subway lines can be constructed in the middle of the motorways or parks can be made beside them.
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Old November 29th, 2011, 05:56 AM   #386
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With very few exceptions, even in congested cities like Madrid, Chicago or Sydney (I don't know about Asian cities), the average speed of commute of whomever uses a car is faster than that of a transit commuter.
Well there are quite a few things wrong with this assertion.

Firstly, you've failed to prove what you're saying. A study that compares the commute times of two people who live and work in the same places, but one travels by car, and the other by train...this would give you credibility, as opposed to comparing two very different cities, when there are so many additional factors at play.

For example, a study comparing two people who make the same exact daily commute; both would live in, let's say, Arlington Heights, IL, and both work in Chicago's Loop; the only difference is that one takes the car all the way, and the other takes the Metra suburban rail. A study proving here that the car driver saves time, would certainly prove your point. Now, as a Chicago resident, I can tell you, that the car driver certainly would not get to the Loop faster. But here's your chance to prove me wrong, and yourself right.

Rebasepoiss also gave you an excellent response when s/he said:

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Originally Posted by Rebasepoiss View Post
The point about Madrid, Chicago and Sydney assumes that not everybody drives. If everybody drove to work in dense cities, you would need to invest A LOT in urban motorways to maintain the same average speed.
Exactly. If everyone in Chicago or Madrid drove, then commute times would be even longer for drivers.

And adding more freeways or freeway lanes doesn't solve the problem. In the short run, it will temporarily relieve congestion, but then more people are encouraged to drive, and it will only take a couple years before you're back to square one. This has happened, over and over again, in several US cities, as I already noted, but you [talking to Suburbanist] chose to ignore.

In the longer run, it encourages auto-centric urban development. More space is needed to drive cars and park them, which lengthens distances between most peoples' points A and B, and this in turn encourages [or even forces] more people to drive, and congestion levels never decrease.

OTOH, a comprehensive system that includes investment in public transit, keeps many people off of the roads, and slightly shortens the commute times for those who still drive.

Thus, the flaw in Suburbanist's paradigm.

In fact, Rebasepoiss's excellent response also perfectly rebukes this assertion:

Quote:
Originally Posted by Suburbanist View Post
Los Angeles, Houston, Miami, Dallas, Phoenix metro areas, for all the "car-centric" criticism they take, all have average commute times LOWER than those of Chicago and New York metro areas. So apparently urban freeways make in connectivity what they lack, on peak time, in capacity.
The "New York and Chicago have the longest commutes" claim has floated around the internet on quite a few websites, and that's where you got this. But it's far from being conclusive. A study mentioned in this this Forbes slideshow begs to differ. It says that the ten "worst cities" for commuters (and they mean metropolitan areas, when you actually read the captions) are as follows:
  1. Atlanta
  2. Detroit
  3. Miami
  4. Orlando
  5. Dallas
  6. Tampa
  7. Washington
  8. Houston
  9. Los Angeles
  10. San Francisco

There is no mention of New York or Chicago, and 8 of the cities that made the list (Atlanta, Miami, Detroit, Orlando, Dallas, Tampa, Houston, Los Angeles) are auto-dependent, inlcuding all of the top 6. San Francisco only made this list because half of the metro (the San Jose portion) is underserved by public transit. But both the Washington and San Francisco areas are ambitiously expanding their regional rail systems.

Assuming, however, that Chicagoans and New Yorkers do have the longest commutes...if that were true, we'd still be ignoring the following points:
  1. We would be ignoring the fact that -according to expert analysis- New York and Chicago would have even longer commute times were it not for their public transit systems.
  2. We wouldn't be taking into account that Chicago's and New York's respective suburbias are also car-centric, and many people in these suburbias both work and live in the suburbs. Hence, as I noted earlier, comparing city-city is disingenuous, and that comparing equivalent commutes within the same metropolitan areas is much more accurate.
  3. Even New York and Chicago have large areas that are underserved by public transit, due to -even in these cities- decades of neglect in favor of public funds going towards automobile infrastructure. For example, Chicago's South Side is grossly underserved by public transit, and crossing the Hudson River from New Jersey into Manhattan is time-consuming because additional underwater rail tunnels are long overdue (there are far more automobile crossings across the Hudson, than there are rail crossings). And it's worth noting that both the shortage of parking space in Manhattan and the expensive tolls to enter Manhattan discourage people from entering the city by car on a regular basis. So, any relative "ease" of entering the city by car is due to these factors. That doesn't make driving more efficient. Not by a long shot.


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Originally Posted by Suburbanist View Post
It is naive to make comparisons like a slow-moving urban expressway with an unimpeded adjacent train line, for instance, because the advantage of cars reveal themselves on not requiring transfers, having zero waiting time (you just turn it on and go), and being extremely efficient for last-mile connections.
The major flaw with your argument here, is A) your assumption that cars are "extremely efficient for last-mile connections" and B) your assumption that transit advocates don't take "waiting time" into consideration. Both of these are false.

To address the latter first: waiting times for trains, between trains, and the walk/drive/bus to subway stations, is indeed included within "total commute time". It is true that some transit commutes can be very long and tedious -depending on the district and the city (unfortunately, there are some areas that don't benefit from the full potential of public transit, because of lack of political will). This problem can be avoided for the vast majority of weekday commuters with smartly-designed urban rail systems that limit the amount of transfers needed, and/or bypass tracks and express trains for more outlying districts, and/or an increase in the number of trains during peak commute times. You're never going to be able to serve everyone's needs with urban rail, but you can serve most people's needs in cities that have one or two -even 5 or 6- major centers of employment. BTW, my commute time, when I lived in Paris, was 25 minutes, and that included two transfers on the Metro.

As for cars being "extremely efficient for last-mile connections", this rests on the assumption that work places (or even places of shopping, entertainment, etc), have a convenient parking space readily available, very close to the building. In very large metropolitan areas, this is far from true.

In densely built areas, you'll spend a very long time looking for an available parking space, you may end up paying an arm and a leg to park your car, you may spend 10-20 minutes driving up a parking garage and making your way back down to the street, and you may have to walk far (because you couldn't find an available parking space closer to your destination).

In a more sprawling district, you won't need to look for a parking space, because ample parking space is provided...but...you may park far from your workplace entrance (if you work in a large building with a sprawling parking lot), and it can take 10-15 minutes to get from your car to your desk. Additionally, a suburban development designed around parking lots will require longer driving distances, and several turns and loops before you can finally enter the parking lot and reach an available parking space. If you need to take your car across the street (let's say that after work you want to go to the shopping mall across the street from your workplace...and you need to drive because simply walking across the street could be a bloody 20-minute walk), again, you need to navigate through the parking lot, wait for the right time to which will require a number of turns and loops, in order to reach a designated exit from the parking lot, then wait for your turn to enter the street (if traffic is heavy), and then maneuver a number of times in order to enter the other establishment's parking lot, and park in an available parking space over there.


Quote:
Originally Posted by Suburbanist View Post
Even if your anti-highway hate were a paradigm...
No, I'm not against motorways. I said that they serve a purpose, and that purpose is inter-city, and not intra-city. A ring around the core of the city (like the Périphérique around Paris proper), with radiating branches into the suburbs (and onwards towards other cities), makes perfect sense. But building a motorway through Paris proper, would be completely stupid.

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Originally Posted by Suburbanist View Post
...you would still need connections between highways approaching a given city from different directions.
Not sure how this counters anything I've been saying.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Suburbanist View Post
After all, something nobody wants is passing traffic in urban streets or boulevards. Even in Green-hijacked city governments around Europe, there is usually support for highway bypasses, tunnels or whatever that make people going from A to C avoiding crossing urban roads of city B that is in the middle of them.
The vast majority of Europeans would never agree to building a motorway right through London or Paris or Rome or St Petersburg. As Rebasepoiss noted, bypasses around cities make perfect sense.

It's unclear what point you're trying to make here.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Rebasepoiss View Post
And suburbanist, your philosophy assumes that a street is merely a transport corridor between buildings which is most definitely isn't and it's only the car-centric view of the 20th century that makes people think that. To put it in your "economical" terms, as you like to call them, building an elevated motorway in the city centre results in indirect monetary losses to living quality (noise, air and visual pollution) local businesses and real estate value which you decide to not take into account.
+2

Beautifully said.

The mid-20th century model is dead. It was a failed concept.
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Old December 1st, 2011, 03:09 PM   #387
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At least here in Finland the Greens oppose to both by-passes and urban highways. They oppose to all road construction.
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Old December 5th, 2011, 01:06 AM   #388
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In Iran greens don't have power. People want the government to construct the new freeways as close to their town as possible. It makes their economy work.
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Old December 5th, 2011, 03:43 AM   #389
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Quite a big one for England in this day and age...

SEMMMS. We don't build roads anymore, they are branded 'environmental improvement routes' LOL! I think this is to stop people worrying so much!

The Manchester Outer Ring Road was proposed in the 1960s, but was cancelled over and over. But in the last few months its been brought back! I'm not normally glad about things like this, but this new road will help a lot!

It was going to be full motorway scale but is now doing to be 2+2 dual carriage way which I guess is better than nothing!

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Old December 10th, 2011, 07:20 PM   #390
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That's good. They can improve the road to motorway standards in the future if needed.
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Old December 10th, 2011, 09:45 PM   #391
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That's good. They can improve the road to motorway standards in the future if needed.
Only if the bridges are wide enough, which they often aren't. The M42 is an infamous example in Britain, stopping about 10 miles short of the M1. The A42 all-purpose road which completes the journey is two lanes each way without hard shoulders, and one of the people who worked on it mentioned that they were ordered to build the bridges in such a way that there'd be no room to add extra lanes, for fear that otherwise they wouldn't be able to get the scheme past the environmentalists...
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Old January 7th, 2012, 08:15 AM   #392
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Quote:
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In Iran greens don't have power. People want the government to construct the new freeways as close to their town as possible. It makes their economy work.
Key word: close

People want the freeway to pass close to their town. Not through their town.
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Old January 7th, 2012, 02:38 PM   #393
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Quote:
Originally Posted by skyduster View Post
Key word: close

People want the freeway to pass close to their town. Not through their town.
you're very right, skyduster. I really am a freeway-lover, but really, be honest guys - a cross-donwtown-freeway may look cool for road enthousiasts but who would really want to live there? Like skyduster said, a freeway close to downtown serves traffic as well as a direct-crosstown monster. Having to stop at some traffic lights in the inner core of city won*t kill you!
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Old January 7th, 2012, 04:53 PM   #394
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Thing is, lot of European cities have city center freeways, only they are in tunnels or in deep trenches covered by partial roofs and structures. And that's the only way to do it... I remeber an US city that buried it's downtown freeway not to long ago. Was it Boston? Best choice ever in my eyes.
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Old January 7th, 2012, 05:10 PM   #395
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It was indeed Boston - the project was called the Big Dig - but it's notorious for having cost a fortune (and more than was budgeted), and there's been at least one incident of someone being killed in the tunnel by a ceiling tile falling.
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Old January 7th, 2012, 05:28 PM   #396
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I-95 in Philly might be demolished and a green way built in its place. Of course if they can get it re-routed first , alot of the older highways in the Urban Northeast were built with a cut style. Those cuts will be covered with parks and retail....over the next few decades....
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Old January 7th, 2012, 05:30 PM   #397
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It was indeed Boston - the project was called the Big Dig - but it's notorious for having cost a fortune (and more than was budgeted), and there's been at least one incident of someone being killed in the tunnel by a ceiling tile falling.

I think they've already made back the money they lost building the tunnel just by the fact that the whole area has become more attractive...

I guess the ceiling tile falling was just a coincidence. Have the numbers of crashes risen on that part since the tunnels where build?
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Old January 7th, 2012, 05:35 PM   #398
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I-95 in Philly might be demolished and a green way built in its place. Of course if they can get it re-routed first , alot of the older highways in the Urban Northeast were built with a cut style. Those cuts will be covered with parks and retail....over the next few decades....
Um, no thanks.
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Old January 7th, 2012, 05:36 PM   #399
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I-95 in Philly might be demolished and a green way built in its place. Of course if they can get it re-routed first , alot of the older highways in the Urban Northeast were built with a cut style. Those cuts will be covered with parks and retail....over the next few decades....
It cant be that expensive to cover them up I guess, because they already are in trench anyway...
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Old January 7th, 2012, 05:39 PM   #400
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Um, no thanks.
Why not ,access to Phillys waterfront is cut off by this monster highway....that shouldn't be that way...it would be the portion between the Ben Franklin and Walt Whitman Bridges... Developers and the city have expressed interest in reuniting Center City with the waterfront. 676 would also be covered.
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