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a.k.a. Sequentia
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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hi people,

I'm currently doing a study to improve the connection between a suburb and a small city. For a few decades these two parts of the city have been divided by a big car tunnel AND a street level highway on the sides. It's an unattractive spot and life on its edges has retracted (two empty plots and a few low rent offices border the cross point). This is a shame because directly behind these plots on BOTH sides of the highway and tunnel are lively shopping streets and popular residential neighbourhoods.

What would you do to 'make the connection'? In The Netherlands we only have situations like these in two cities and I can imagine the expertise is greater elsewhere. Does anyone have pictures of similar situations? I'm curious how other cities have made inner city highway cross points more attractive!

I will try to post a picture of the situation later on.

Thanks in advance for any help you can give me!
 

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sucks
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Often times, highways will be earthen and overpasses will be level with the street on both sides. Visually, this gives the impression that the other side is not cut-off. You can see across and it feels more continuous.
 

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a.k.a. Sequentia
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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
^ Thanks for your reply!

At the location I am designing for, the two parts of the street cut by the highway are on the same level and you can therefore see the other side of the road. The 'deck' above the tunnel has lots of open space, so I thought this would be a great place for a green spot with benches and maybe a magazine shop or whatever. I'm sure in big cities like NYC there are tons of examples, looking forward to see them!
 

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In Vienna some important parts of large heavy trafficked streets or highways have been brought below surface for a certain length. By getting the highway out of sight, you create strong improvement of the impression of continuity.

I guess the less you see and hear from the highway the better it is for the quality of the location. Above the tunnel you can put public squares or green stuff, depending on the situation. or continue the row of shops to connect two shopping streets.
 

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a.k.a. Sequentia
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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Thanks :) the problem with this situation is that the main highway is below surface, but the road connecting the rest of the neighbourhood with the city center is above ground. During the years this road has become more crowded and now it's a problem. Let me upload a photo, maybe people can share their thoughts on how to make this important part of the city (it's the connection between Ginneken, a suburb, and Breda, the main city and is the middle point of two lively streets) more attractive:



As said, this is not a metropolis but a small city (pop. 200.000) with quiet neighbourhoods where this car tunnel and the ugly square above it don't fit the picture. I would love to see some pictures of similar situations in other cities.
 

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^^ Where is the traffic on the picture above?

And what is the problem exactly? Is it the highway or the street above ground? Bad pedestrian connections? Bad atmosphere and if so, why?
 

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a.k.a. Sequentia
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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
I had to wait until there was no traffic for the particular picture, because I took it to show the amount of pointless space.

The problem is that for a small suburb in a small city, traffic here is too dominant. Also the area is grey and lifeless, which is a big contrast with the small lively streets on both sides. I've seen spaces like these in big cities that were filled with benches/bush/trees, or with magazine shops, or anything else that can 'brush away' the tunnel, make the square look smaller/cosier and make people wanna cross the street.
 

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On a somewhat similar point in The Hague, we've got "Snackcar De Vrijheid" (a stall selling french fries and stuff), google should give you the info about it's location, but it's right above the point where a main highway goes underground as well.
One of those obviously doesn't make a huge difference, but I can imagine that a couple of stalls with flowers, newspapers and so should be able to bridge that gap. Also a solution that doesn't cost the city a lot of money, but brings a little bit in, instead. :)
 

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Melbourne's traditional CBD and the Docklands are separated by a group of railway lines and a major road and the current plan to integrate the two are to build bridges over the railway lines and then construct buildings above the tracks, facing the bridge to create the impression that you're just going over a big hill. Federation Square is similar, the entire square and associated buildings are constructed over railway lines - using advanced techniques so that they don't rumble every time a train passes.

It actually creates a nice pedestrian friendly area too because all the vehicle access is through laneways at ground level which aren't very noticeable.

Of course, this sort of solution is only feasible in big cities. It could be done on a smaller scale, although it might end up being a bit costly.
 

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Ginneken is not a suburb it's a neighbourhood quite close to the city center of Breda (which has 171,000 in the city proper not 200,000). It used to be a village but has been absorbed by the city of Breda in 1942.
Also, the Franklin Rooseveltlaan is not a highway, it's an arterial road.

At least give the correct information...
 

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a.k.a. Sequentia
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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
^ Does it really matter? My God, excuse me...

Anyway, my research is done now so thanks everyone for your time! Maybe I'll get my posters up here.
 

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By now, Montreal seems to have waited for ever for the magnificence to be incorporated into its revamped intersection of avenues des Pins and du Parc at a prominently-located foot of the city's mountain on the edge of downtown. It used to be a jumble of over-/underpasses; now, it's fully at grade, treeless, statueless, ultimately devoid really -- I can't stand cars and their clutter although I did prefer the appearance of the dilapidated interchange.
 
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