VERTICAL ROAD MASS TRANSIT DETROIT 1967

MORT PERSKY, THE EDITOR OF DETROIT MAGAZINE, THE SUNDAY SUPPLEMENT OF THE DETROIT FREE PRESS NEWSPAPER, HAD ME DO A CURTIN CALL , AFTER THE KERN BLOCK ISSUE, WITH A MASS TRANSPORTATION CONCEPT.

MORT PUT ME ON A PANEL WITH THE LOCAL TRANSPORTATION POWERS INCLUDING CONSTANTINOS DOXIADIS, THE RENOWN GREEK CITY PLANNER CONSULTANT WHO WAS ADVISING DETROIT AT THE TIME. HIS DAUGHTER WENT TO CRANBROOK WHILE I WAS THERE, AND I HAD SHOWED HIM MY VERTICAL CITY.

I WENT TO ONE OF CONSTANTINO’S PRESENTATIONS, IT WAS THE ERA OF OVERLAYS. STARTING WITH THE DRAINAGE SYSTEM, ROAD SYSTEM, GROWTH PATTERNS, POWER SYSTEM, OPEN SPACES, DENSITY , AREA USES, RAIN PATTERN, ETC.TO FUTURE GROWTH. BY THE TIME HE GOT DONE, EVERYBODY WAS READY TO GIVE HIM THE KEYS TO THE CITY. THE POWER OF INFORMATION. BUT WHAT YOU DO WITH THAT IS THE BOTTOM LINE FOR ME. THERE IS A LOT OF MONEY TO BE MADE FROM STUDIES THAT GO NOWHERE. DOXIADIS WAS PROPOSING GOING UNDERGROUND WITH TRANSPORTATION SPEEDS UP TO 1000 MILES AN HOUR, A MODULAR UNIT IN YOUR BASEMENT THAT CAN WHISK ONE AWAY.

THIS WAS AN ERA THAT ANYTHING WAS POSSIBLE, DREAMS AND TECHNOLOGY WERE COMING TOGETHER. BUT WHAT HAPPENED WAS THE POLITICAL AND CULTURAL ADVANCEMENTS WERE NOT KEEPING UP WITH THE REALISTIC TECHNOLOGICAL ACHIEVEMENTS.

GLIDING ALONG ON THE MOVING WALKWAY

THE BIG THING ON EVERYBODY’S LIPS AT THIS TIME WAS BART IN SAN FRANCISCO. IT IS STILL EXPANDING AND WORKING, BUT MY FIRST HAND KNOWLEDGE RELATES TO MY SON IN LAW LAWYER PHILIP AND MASTER BLOG MAN TIM BARNES. PHILIP LIVES IN THE EAST BAY IN EL CERRITOS AND DRIVES FROM HIS HILLSIDE HOUSE TO THE BART STATION PROBABLY ABOUT FOUR MILES OF HILLSIDE DRIVING, PARKS OR IS DELIVERED BY WIFE, AND THEN GOES TO SAN FRANCISCO. THIS IS NOT CHEAP TRANSPORTATION WITH PARKING AND FARE. PLUS HE USES GAS WITH HIS DRIVE. TIM LIVES IN LOS GATOS DOWN THE PENINSULA 60 MILES AWAY, DRIVES FOR ABOUT 15 MILES TO HIS STATION, PARKS HIS CAR AND TRAVELS TO DOWNTOWN SF. JUST THE ROUND TRIP DRIVE TO THE STATION TAKES AN HOUR. AGAIN THE COST IS STEEP AND USES GAS SO BOTH OF THESE SITUATIONS ARE FOR THE UPPER END TRAVELER AND BOTH TAKE GAS.

WHAT AMAZES ME IS THAT THE RECORDED CONVERSATION OF THE PANEL ON TRANSPORTATION IN 1967 COULD BE THE SAME CONVERSATION IN ANY BIG CITY TODAY. ONE OF THE IDEAS WAS A MOVEMENT MODULAR, SIMILAR TO WHAT FOSTER IS USING IN HIS ZERO CARBON SCHEMES. WHEN I ESPOUSED THAT THE CAR AS MODULAR OF MOVEMENT IT WAS COUNTERED WITH THE SEAT AS THE MODULAR OF MOVEMENT. RIGHT NOW WE HAVE THE HUMAN AS THE MODULAR OF MOVEMENT. I THINK THERE COULD BE A STRONG OPTION OF THE SEAT AS THE MODULAR OF MOVEMENT. AN EXAMPLE OF A CRAMPED SEAT ON AN AIRPLANE OR JAMMED BUS WITH NOSES ONE FOOT AWAY. WE CAN DO BETTER. A PRIMITIVE,BUT REALISTIC EXAMPLE IS A FOLDING CANVAS CHAIR WITH CARRYING BAG NOW AVAILABLE FOR $5. I BOUGHT FORTY OF THEM FOR MY WEDDING. LIGHT WEIGHT , COMFORTABLE, AND PORTABLE. IN 1967 ELECTRONIC GUIDED MOVEMENT SYSTEMS WERE BEING DISCUSSED AND GOOGLE AND OTHERS ARE DOING THAT NOW.

GROUND LEVEL PEDESTRIANS PLAZA

I WAS IN SAN FRANCISCO IN GRIDLOCK NOT LONG AGO, I HAVE NO IDEA OF HOW PEOPLE CAN BEAR THIS, I TURN TO THE EDUCATIONAL RADIO TO SIT IT OUT. SOMEBODY SHOULD DO A STUDY ON WHAT PEOPLE DO IN THIS SITUATION. ROAD RAGE IS LIKELY TO FLARE AT ANY MOMENT.

I GOT A HELICOPTER RIDE OVER DETROIT TO GET AN AERIAL VIEW AND PHOTOS, BUT THE MOST EVENTFUL THING I CAN REMEMBER IS THAT I LOST MY FATHER’S SUN GLASSES. THE DOUGLAS MCARUTHER AVIATOR TYPE I ACQUIRED UPON HIS DEATH.

MY SCHEME WAS TO CREATE A ROAD SYSTEM THAT COULD BE STACKED. HIGHER WHERE MORE DENSITY AND NEED AND LOWER WHERE THE DENSITY AND NEED WAS REDUCED.
THE PERSONAL CAR IS THE LOVE OF THE WORLD. PEOPLE WILL SIT FOR HOURS IN THEIR CAR ON THE GRID LOCKED FREEWAYS. THEY MOVE FAR OUT FROM THE CITY CENTER TO LIVE IN SUBURBIA AND HAVE THEIR CAR. IF YOU WANT TO ELIMINATED THIS, THE CAR HAS TO BE IMPROVED OR ACCOMMODATED FOR. PUBLIC TRANSPORTATION IS FOR THE OTHER GUY AND THE POOR. THE CAR IS THE CHOICE. YOU DO NOT ELIMINATE THE CAR, BECAUSE YOU ARE YOUNG , LIKE BICYCLES AND WALKING. THAT IS A YUPPIE CONCEPT.

WAITING FOR A BUS

THE POLLUTANTS FROM VEHICLES IS BEING SOLVED, WE COULD GO ALL ELECTRIC NOW. IT IS JUST A MATTER OF TIME BEFORE POLLUTION IS NOT AN ISSUE.

THE MAJOR COST IN ABOVE GROUND TRANSPORTATION IS ACQUIRING THE LAND, BUT BY USING THE STREETS WHICH ARE ALREADY OWNED BY THE CITY THERE IS NO COST AND ACQUISITION OF LAND.
THE CONSTRUCTION OF ABOVE GROUND SYSTEMS WAS ALREADY AT THE TIME 50% INITIAL COST LESS THAN UNDERGROUND SYSTEMS.

THE GROUND WAS GIVEN OVER TO THE PEDESTRIANS. LIKE VIENNA AUSTRIA WHERE THERE ARE NO CARS DOWNTOWN. OPEN AIR MARKETS, KIOSKS, PARKS, CHECKERS, LAWN BOWLING, EVENTS, ETC. DIOXIDUS AND I WERE IN AGREEMENT THAT THE GROUND PLANE SHOULD BE FOR PEDESTRIANS.

THE VERTICAL ROAD SYSTEM STILL HAD THE CARS, TRUCKS AND BUSSES, BUT SEPARATED FROM PEDESTRIANS. ON THE TOP WAS A PEDESTRIAN SUN PARK WITH AUTOMATED SIDEWALKS, LIKE MOST AIRPORTS NOW. WITH THE GROUND PLANE AND SUN PARK LEVEL FOR PEDESTRIANS , WALKING, ROLLER SKATES, SKATE BOARDS, BICYCLES, GOLF CARTS, AND ELECTRIC TRAMS WOULD ALLOW PEDESTRIAN MOVEMENT TO BE RAPID AND CONVENIENT.

CROSS SECTION OF THE VERTICAL ROAD SYSTEM

LOCAL TRAFFIC WAS THE SECOND LEVEL, RAPID LOCAL TRAFFIC THE THIRD LEVEL, AND ALL THE RAPID TRANSIT GUIDANCE SYSTEMS ON THE THIRD LEVEL.

EACH LEVEL HAD A MECHANICAL CHASE SPACE TO HOUSE PIPES, AND SEALED DELIVERY SYSTEMS,

KAHN SAID, A ROOM WITHOUT NATURAL LIGHT IS NOT A ROOM, I AGREE, SUBWAYS AND THE UNDERGROUND WORLD ARE ARTIFICIAL WITH NO NATURAL LIGHT AND NO CONNECTION TO THE OUTSIDE WORLD.

THE VERTICAL ROAD SYSTEM ALLOWS FOR A THREE DIMENSION CONNECTIONS TO THE CITY AND LANDSCAPE. WITH THE EXISTING HIGH SPEED TRAINS ABOVE GROUND ONE CAN OBSERVE THE LANDSCAPE AND FEEL PART OF THE DAY.

SNOW REMOVAL COST WOULD BE ELIMINATED.

THERE IS A FLEXIBILITY OF ADDING OR SUBTRACTING THE ROAD LEVELS AS NEEDED.

A MIDDLE RAMP LANE WOULD ALLOW TRANSFER BETWEEN LEVELS. THIS WOULD ALSO CONNECT TO SUB-GRADE GARAGES.

ALLOWING THE MANY SYSTEMS AVAILABLE TO INTERACT

THE DOWNSIDE OF THE SCHEME WOULD NECESSITATE STREET GRADE LOADING AND ACCESS TO BE ALTERED TO ABOVE AND BELOW GRADE. THIS WAS THE MAJOR CONCERN THAT MADE ME EVOLVE TO 15 UP AND 15 DOWN THAT KEPT STREET GRADE VEHICLE ACCESS AND MADE UNINTERRUPTED PEDESTRIAN MOVEMENT 15 UP ABOVE GRADE.

THE ONLY WAY THIS SYSTEM WOULD WORK IS THAT THE STANDARD OF THE ROAD DESIGN HAD TO BE EXCELLENT, NOT LIKE CHICAGO’S ELEVATED TRANSIT DOWNTOWN, UGLY, UGLY, UGLY. ALSO A SOLUTION THAT ALLOWED TRANSPARENCY FOR NATURAL LIGHT TO FILTER THROUGH. SOME MIRRORS OR REFLECTIVE STORE FRONTS AND GLAZING TO BOUNCE THE LIGHT AROUND. I AM NOT YOUR ENGINEER TECHNOLOGY GUY THAT UNDERSTANDS ALL THE NUTS AND BOLTS. BUT WITH THE RIGHT CONSULTANTS A WHOLE SERIES OF INVENTIVE STUFF COULD HAPPEN.

OPEN SPACES WOULD BE ZONED INTO THE SCHEME TO GIVE RELIEF FROM THE CAVERN DENSE USAGE OF THE ELEVATED ROADWAYS.

CONSTANTINOS DOXIADIS DOING HIS THING, OH WHAT I WOULD GIVE FOR A CHARMING GREEK ACCENT AND THE LOOKS TO GO WITH IT

I BEING OLDER AND WISER NOW, I WAS AMAZED AT HOW ARTICULATE AND RATIONAL I WAS AT 30 YEARS OF AGE.
A GREEN ELEMENT WAS HINTED, BUT A COVERAGE OF THE STRUCTURE WITH A LEAFY VINE WOULD BRING IT ALIVE. THIS HAS BEEN DONE IN SEATTLE WITH THEIR FREEWAYS READING AS ALL GREEN CROSSING OVERHEAD. THE SCHEME SHOULD BE DESIGNED ALL GREEN FOR A PRECIOUS NEEDED CONNECTION TO NATURE AND CLEANSING OF THE AIR.

LOOKING AT THE SCHEME FORTY FOUR YEARS LATER MAKES ME WANT TO THROUGH IN THE TOWEL. THE PROJECTIONS, OF IMPLEMENTATION IN 1967 BEING DISCUSSED, WERE IN THE MID NINETEEN NINETIES. MASS TRANSPORTATION IS A UNIVERSAL NEED THAT IS NO LONGER A PARKING LOT CONTROLLED BY THE OWNER, BUT INSTEAD AN ELABORATED GROUP EFFORT REQUIRING COORDINATION OF COMMUNITIES, CITIES AND COUNTRIES. TO ME WITH THE VARIED SYSTEMS AND NO UNIVERSAL CONTROL THE VERTICAL ROAD IS DEFINITELY VIABLE TO LET WHAT VARIED TRANSPORTATION WE HAVE TO COME TOGETHER.

THE COVER OF THE SUNDAY SUPPLEMENT MAGAZINE. NOT ONE CALL, THE TRANSPORTATION HUB OF THE COUNTRY. SHAME ON FORD, GM, CHRYSLER, AND ALL THE LIMITED SOULS ASSOCIATED WITH THEM. LOOK AT THE MESS THEY HAVE HELPED CREATE. I AM AN ADVOCATE OF CREATIVE SOLUTIONS FOR THE CAR. YOU WOULD THINK THEY COULD REALIZE THAT TO SPIN THEIR PRODUCT. I WAS RECENTLY ASSOCIATED WITH A PRODUCT THAT INCREASED THE GAS EFFICIENCY BY 30% PLUS THAT HAS GONE BANKRUPT FOR NO BUYERS. I HAVE NO IDEA OF WHAT GOVERNS THE AUTO COMPANIES THINKING, BUT THEY COULD DO SO MUCH GOOD AND CHOOSE NOT TO.

MY THINKING IS THAT IF A COMMUNITY CAN NOT COME TOGETHER TO IMPLEMENT ANY SIGNIFICANT CHANGE OF TRANSPORTATION THEN EFFORTS TO IMPROVE OUR CITIES WITH MAJOR CONSEQUENCE IS DOOMED TO LIVING WITH THE EXISTING. A LOT OF PEOPLE HAVE ACCEPTED THIS AND ARE HAPPY WITH THE CONDITIONS. SO BE IT. BUT THERE ARE RUMBLES HAPPENING IN AISA THAT SEEK AND BUILD THE IDEAL.

JANE AS THE SEXUAL NEW AGE ACTIVIST BEFORE TOM HAYDEN, ARTICLE FROM THE MASS TRANSIT DETROIT MAGAZINE NOVEMBER 5, 1967, SUNDAY SUPPLEMENT OF DETROIT FREE PRESS

WISHING YOU THE BEST,

GLEN

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