Thursday, November 13, 2008

Auto - Centricity

I really don't like transit stations in the center of freeways. It takes away the best land for TOD, and exposes riders to the elements not to mention caters to cars and work trips rather than non-work trips. If we didn't build another freeway centered rail line I would be pretty happy. But alas that won't happen. We'll see another one soon in Antioch.

16 comments:

kenf said...

Chicago has some transit stations in the middle of freeways that are better than most such stations. The station entrance is at a street that crosses the freeway, there are neighborhoods nearby, and NO PARKING.

Justin said...

A portion of the Spadina Subway here in Toronto is in the middle of a highway. It does have it's uses. There are neighbourhoods nearby, and people can still walk to the stations.

rhywun said...

Sometimes an expressway WAS a rail line, and bisects a (once) active neighborhood. I have no problem with an expressway transit line in that situation.

Adam said...

Sorry kenf, I live in Chicago and I still think that the CTA lines in the middle of a 10-lane expressway just suck. It's at least a half-mile walk to any destination you want to visit, but usually more. The neighborhoods I know that immediately border expressways are often lifeless and depressed. Really, who wants to live or put a storefront next to a loud, dirty expressway that has no sidewalks? To get anywhere, you are pretty much forced to transfer to a bus. Plus, and this is just my pet peeve, the expressway stations that I use are on busy streets and by the time the crosswalk light changes, the bus you need on the other side of the street has already pulled away. It's obvious that these transit lines in highways are just an afterthought. Look, I know I'm preaching the choir, but I'd rather we build transit where it has the potential to work really well than save a couple bucks to throw it down in a highway where it might do OK, but never do anything to spur transit oriented development. If anything, these expressway transit lines would be better for commuter type express trains that don't make as many stops. It's always great to zoom past cars sitting in traffic.

Robert said...

I agree with Adam. Any expressway of any city in which I've ever lived is far, far away from attractive housing or neighborhoods.

Anyway, the reason that people advocate putting transit in the middle of expressways is that they regard transit as ugly, annoying, or disruptive. Expressways are already these things, so it's easy to avoid NIMBYs.

kenf said...

Adam and Robert,

I didn't say the CTA stations in the middle of the expressway is great, just that they suck less than some that are surrounded by parking lots as well.

I personally think expressways in the city is a very bad idea, and should never have been don.

Anonymous said...

Bridges like Brooklyn and Manhattan Bridge were originally built to have either subway or streetcar service, as well as bicycle lanes. For many years, most urban bridges had provision for transit. Until Robert Moses came on the scene that is, he built his bridges without transit. If they were designed by someone else, he usually ignored or removed them.
When the collapsed bridge in Minneapolis was rebuilt and reopened, no provision for any kind of transit was included.

jon said...

Portland has a fair bit of freeway running, but all but one of these freeway stations are off to one side of the freeway so there is some potential for TOD. Its worth noting that none of the existing TOD in Portland is located at the freeway stations (except for Hollywood) which might say something.

Cavan said...

something? I think that says everything that can be said on the matter.

I think the most extreme example of this is Washington, D.C. We had all of our freeways cancelled and then all the funds put towards building the Metro. The result has been very large amounts of neighborhood revitalization in the District, TOD in the inner suburbs, with plenty more of both coming down the pipeline in the future.

Morgan Wick said...

The real problem is the existence of freeways through urban and suburban areas at all, often along what either already are or subsequently become the best transit lines. I once read (on the FHWA website!) that Eisenhower himself never knew the Interstate system was going to run through cities instead of around them (or becoming urban streets in them) until it was too late, and would have opposed such an arrangement had he known.

Matt Fisher said...

In Calgary, they run a leg of the C-Train in the median of a freeway, the Crowchild Trail. Nevertheless, it's better to put commuter type lines with not many stops in freeway medians.

Anonymous said...

Why not put HSR in freeways too?

They're already grade separated.

Alon Levy said...

Freeway curves are too tight.

Erik said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Erik said...

Here in Sacramento, many of our light rail stations are either in the middle of freeways or in old freight corridors. In both instances there isn't compact development at all; in the case of freight ROWs, no development at all. These stations basically run through sprawl developments and are extremely unsafe to get to on foot or bicycle.

BruceMcF said...

Anonymous said...
Why not put HSR in freeways too?

They're already grade separated.


Its not uncommon to use freeway rights of way as part of an HSR system ... many European lines do, and the HSR in California plans to do, but thats on one side or the other of the freeway, not down the middle ... which tells you that its normally out in the countryside, not in cities, since the right of way in urban expressways is not wide enough.