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Why? MLA/MURP student: a landscape architect with training in planning. What I like most about this is the ability to work between disciplines and departments. To most people a room full of planners, working on planning projects, all with similar educations, create some of the most inane conversations and projects imaginable. The same could be said of landscape architects. But, include someone from a different discipline, with a different perspective, and people have to start explaining things differently, thinking differently, and usually the result is a better project or document. As a student of both, I love to play this role of the outsider, to instigate interaction. It is this interface between systems (of thought or otherwise) which truly gets me engaged. I got into grad from a notion that something is wrong with our landscapes, and some very influential urban geography/planning classes. From that beginning, this project has been a tool for learning; I do not purport to understand all of the workings of all of the systems/variables at play in our urban environments, but I endeavor to do so. As such, this project is both a naive and informed effort. This is my first crack at what I hope will keep me busy for the next 50 years. In a way, it all started with biking. Not only because biking is the most versatile form of transportation I’ve found, but because biking exposes you to other urban systems in a way cars can’t. Across a city, a well-researched bike route will involve a combination of roads, trails, parks, shortcuts, residential streets, collectors, arterials, etcetera. In short, the bike forces the rider, consciously or not, to understand something about the interface between the different types of space in a city. Come to find out that it’s all this stuff, all these systems that stimulates both my love of biking as well as landscape architecture/planning. So, this interest of mine isn’t really about biking, it’s about the urban systems.
“Thirty two spokes are made one through holes in a hub; by vacancies joining them for a wheel’s use. The use of clay in moulding pitchers comes from the hollow of its absence. Doors, windows in a house, are used for their emptiness. Thus, we are helped by what is not, to use what is.” -DJ Spooky
The Problem : Segregated Thinking One example of the way that systems could better interact is with the consideration of access versus mobility, and the false dichotomy that they represent. Mobility is the measure of how efficiently something moves. Usually the change in mobility due to an improvement (construction) is measured and maximized for the private automobile, sometimes a bus or train, and rarely ever for bikes or pedestrians. This is because they have been a priority for most people in our society for the last 50-60 years. Mobility is generally understood as negatively correlated to access. Access is defined as the simple ability to get somewhere.
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This graphic is meant to display the differences between the street grid (â€˜the gridâ€™), the highway, and the disconnect beween them. This is further illustrated by the volumes of traffic. Highway 35W, with 192,000 annual average daily trips, has over 13 times the volume, more than twice the posted speed limit (65 mph vs 30 mph), and is in no way connected to anything around it.
The false dichotomy of mobility versus access is meant to serve as an anecdote in my approach to this project. There are many such segregations in the way we think of urban spaces, this is merely one of them. That is, there are many examples of disconnection even in the way we think about urban spaces, which needs to change in the coming century if we are to make a move to a systems-based approach (an inclusive, connected approach). Another example of this is our disjointed and counter-productive set of urban design priorities. Exempli gratia: we design for automobile circulation, then wonder why our urban landscapes are uninspired. We look at models like Europe and New Urbanism and hold them up as examples but donâ€™t see the obvious difference between them and contemporary urban and suburban America. For these reasons, I am proposing a change in priorities. The priority list I propose to use was found from the City of Vancouver and starts with the pedestrian. This is because, no matter what other vehicles we use, every single person is, at some point, a pedestrian. Whenever you step off you bike, out of your car, off the bus, you are a pedestrian. Also, this list prioritizes those modes which are the most vulnerable in terms of safety, as well as those modes that serve the most number of people in their service. So, while the list below names only modes and types of transit, the basis for it is a set of priorities that starts with urban safety, then considers utility and efficiency, and ends with individual needs and arguable luxury.
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*VVYKPUH[PVU^P[O6[OLY4VKLZ As this project moves forward towards an understanding of transportation issues, some of the most critical issues are that of schedule, routing, and modal coordination. A plan put forward by the Met Council proposes a handful of recommendations for greater accessibility for the elderly and those with ADA concerns•. These recommendations, however, were proposed before serious consideration of a BRT and Streetcar lines, and this omission, given the city’s current proposals is obvious. Similarly, other planning and transportation documents issued by public agencies in within the state of Minnesota are focusing largely on private-sector contracting and coordination in less dense urban and rural areas•2. It seems that to find good modal and schedule coordination, I will have to look elsewhere for inspiration. There are a handful of mathematical models for optimizing passenger transit transfer times (i.e., minimizing the amount of time one has to wait to transfer onto another line in the same system, or on a different system)•3. In terms of practical case studies, however, Helsinki provides us one of the most efficient urban transportation networks. The Helsinki system operates at three scales of transportation: internal, metro-wide, and regional. Arguably, the success of the Helsinki system lays in its redundancies and policy of competition. The system operates various modes including (but not limited to) buses, subways, trams, streetcars, light rail, and ferry boats. Similarly, there are multiple ways to pay for fares, which reduces boarding time. Also, the system itself often operates more than one mode type to connect high-volume stops. This provides choice for the consumer, and flexibility of travel, depending on one’s needs. Finally, there is a comprehensive and similarly redundant system of information dissemination to eliminate confusion regarding transfers•4.
• Public Transit and Human Services Transportation Coordination Action Plan (2007). Their recommendations include a reduction in the redundancy in dial-aride programs, as well as an increase in suburban, and reverse-commuter services. Unfortunately, while it is mentioned in the report, not much attention is paid to the interaction of various modes.
•2 Successful Local Minnesota Transportation Coordination Case Studies (MN Council on Transportation Access 2011). While, admittedly, this document focuses largely on issues of accessibility, it does not regard how an urban transportation user traverses modes in the Twin Cities.
•3 Much of this research is being done here in the United States, but a large proportion is also being sponsored in China, where urban issues are at the fore-front of concerns with an exploding population. For more information, see the bibliography.
Helsinki Transportation system map
Considering the extreme gradient from large commercial developments to single-family detached and multi-family residential within this study site (sometimes within a single block), the implementation of traffic calming devises will be important to some areas of the design. At present, the grid of the neighborhoods spills directly onto the Lake Street commercial corridor, with no devices or implements in place that demarcate the transition from a vibrant commercial landscape to a calm, safe and familiar neighborhood. Traffic calming, compressions in road width, and variation in materials, colors and forms have an opportunity here to be extremely useful.
This particular example looks north toward Lake Street (Bing Maps). Note the change in parcel size and block configuration along this line. On the one side at Lake and Blaisdell, the parcels are large, the set-backs are huge, and the streetscape is very commercialized. Not two blocks away, at Grand and 32nd, the street is lined with small residential lots, and has a much more calm, suburban ambiance.
/HTTLYZTP[O:[H[PVU!>H`ÄUKPUN *VTTLYJPHS +L]LSVWTLU[ Hammersmith Station, in central London is one of London’s oldest tube stops (1874), and remains one of London’s busiest. The obvious differences between this example and the Lake/ Nicollet/35W commercial node are size and capacity; where this stations handles ridership numbers that far exceed those of any existing system in Minneapolis•. With this volume of people, it is utterly important that the tube station be as legible and efficient as possible. The station serves as a transfer and access point between the Picadilly, District, Circle, and Hammersmith & City Underground Lines. In addition, this station connects to a multitude of bus lines of the London Overground, is surrounded by dense residential and commercial development, and is immediately adjacent to the A4 (one of London’s main radial highways). The London Underground has a long history of simple and legible wayfinding signs, graphic design, and public art. Indeed, with a high volume of traffic, and a successful and bustling commercial center, Hammersmith Station provides a poignant case study in the way modes can successfully interact while creating discernible places for human interaction. In relation to my project, this example clearly demonstrates not just the importance, but the effectiveness of wayfinding. This can be achieved either with signs, or place-making to help people understand where they are in relation to where they’re going.
en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hammersmith_ tube_station_%28Piccadilly_and_District_ lines%29
• Transport for London’s Annual Report and Statement of Accounts 2010/11 provides data on ridership for each year. In 2010, the Picadilly and District Lines combines carried and average of over 1 million people per day. For comparison, in 2008 the Hiawatha LRT Line carried on average 30,500 people per day (http://www.metrocouncil.org/transportation/ lrt/lrt.htm)
Hammersmith Station from above looking west. The A4 runs E-W on the left, and the terminal interacts with surface circulation, with commercial and bus opportunities on the interior (Bing Maps).
=LY[PJHS*PYJ\SH[PVU At present, the vertical circulation of the site consists of two concrete staircases that ascend 20-24’ on each side of 35W to bus stops exposed to the full force of Minnesota weather, and immediately adjacent to speeding traffic (see page 38). It is obvious that conditions at this location need to change if the proposed BRT line is to be implemented, but how? Essentially, this site will include something like a train or subway station design, where there are one or modes interacting through a grade separation to other grades and/or surface pedestrian traffic. Furthermore, these modes will ideally connect in a meaningful way to the Midtown Greenway. The surface of the Greenway itself is just over 30 vertical feet from the highway deck on 35W. At 5%, that is a ramp of over 600’•. That aside, then, there is a necessity to move
A rendering of Minnespolis’ 46th St BRT stop by Metro Transit (sehinc.com)
• Which, by itself is actually feasible, considering that it is one N-S block away (660’ in Minneapolis). However, this does not account for any reliefs, or flat areas, nor is it terribly feasible.
people vertically, and do so safely, so that they are not in conflict with vehicular traffic at any point. This has already been done in the context of a BRT right here in Minneapolis, on 35W, at 46th St. The station at 46th, however, will likely handle much lower volumes of ridership and traffic considering it’s situation in the Metro Area (id est, Lake Street is much busier than 46th) That aside, the most similar circulation pattern is that of a subway station (another nod to Hammersmith Station). Subway circulation typologies come in a variety of configurations which fit a wide variety of modal interchanges and dimensions. As such, they provide a perfect initial study model for understanding vertical circulation on this site.
A rendering of NYC’s Bleeker Street Station design by Lee Harris Pomeroy Architects (www.topboxdesign.com/bleecker-streetsubway-station-in-new-york-united-states/ bleecker-street-subway-station-design-by-leeharris-pomeroy-architects/)
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This land use map from the City of Minneapolis does a good job of depicting the resolution and variegation of land use in the neighborhoods surrounding the intersection of 35W and Lake St. While there is some light industrial (light pink) present, the largest changes in the average parcel size large commercial plots to the NE and SW of the 35W-Lake St overpass. It is not surprising, then, that the pedestrian overlay district along Nicollet ends at this disruption (see below).
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The site itself lays at the intersection of four Minneapolis neighborhoods, each of which with their own unique character:
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Whittier: Including Eat Street, this is one of Minneapolisâ€™ oldest neighborhoods (est. ~1800â€™s). It is characterized by historic architecture and higher-than-average incomes.
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Phillips (West): One of Minneapolisâ€™ most diverse neighborhoods in terms of both demographics and economy. This neighborhood is characterized by a wide range of land uses including residential, commercial, industrial and institutional.
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Lyndale: Is home to one of the highest densities of artists in the nation. ~36% of the land area is designated for multi-family housing, and a strong commercial presence on Lake Street.
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Central: Mostly single-family housing, with some low-rise residential interspersed, with some commercial uses on Lake.
(http://www.ci.minneapolis.mn.us/neighborhoods/[whittier, phillips, lyndale, or central]_profile_home.asp)
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Additionally, this site includes 3 of the metro areaâ€™s designated high-frequency routes:
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At present, there are 6 existing and proposed modes that are in close proximity to Lake and 35W. These are: Metro Transit buses (surface streets), pedestrians (surface streets and Midtown Greenway), Bicyclists (surface streets and Midtown Greenway), the proposed Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) Orange Line (35W), proposed streetcar lines (surface street arterials), and the automobile (everywhere but the Greenway).
Chicago Lake Transit Center
In addition to the bus routes listed here, there are 27 express routes 18 Minnea that run along 35W and stop at the stops that are accessible by stair to Lake Street. 25 of these lines are unidirectional commuter Metro Transit High-Frequency Routes: metrotransit.org/high-frequency-networklines that run Northbound in the mornings and Southbound map.aspx in the evenings. These highway lines are run by 9V\[L-YLX\LUJ` four different organizations: MVTA, SW Transit, 9\ZO/V\Y (]N 56;,: TPU QRQLJKWV <W[V^U[V:[7 TPU BlueXpress, and Metro Transit. UXVKRQO\ S[KZ[VW<W[V^U[V:[7 TPU >[V/PH^H[OH 5PJVSSL[[V)SVVTPUN[VU 5PJVSSL[[V[O *VS\TIPH/LPNO[Z[V473: >LSSZ-HYNV(IIV[5>[V *OPSKYLUZ .YHUK3`UKHSL<VM4
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9PKLY*H[JOTLU[(YLH The project extent, shown below is based on a conversation I had with Dr. David Levinson at the Department of Civil Engineering (11/22/2011). Through our discourse, we reasoned that any development (commercial, residential, or otherwise) would be based on a logical transportation ridership area. Furthermore, the modes to use for a market catchment were reasoned as roughly â…“ of the distance to the closest BRT stop to the north, and 1âˆ•2 to â…” of the distance to the closest BRT stop to the south, considering the ridership draw of the downtown area. To the east and west, 1âˆ•2 the distance to the nearest significant commercial corridor or proposed streetcar line was considered a logical bound. BRT route and stops Streetcar route Midtown Greenway Area of consideration
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4PU\[L+PZ[HUJLZI`4VKL • Establishing Pedestrian Walking Speeds (2005, Portland State University). This is an average of the faster speeds of younger folks and the slower speeds of older folks. Also, this is based solely on U.S. observations.
:$/.,1* 675((7&$5 *5((1:$<%,.,1* :%57 &&/57 Considering then, the major axes for circulation on the site with regards to those modes that have some of the slowest travel times, it is important to understand the practical bounds of space. With the exception of the BRT line, each of the concentric rings, or additional arrowheads represent 5 and 10 minute distances of travel. Bike speed is based on 11 mph (a conservative estimate, and it’s also what Google’s baseline speed is; their algorithm also takes into account slope), walking speed is based on 3.1 mph•, and the streetcar averages were taken from other networks that have streetcars in place, and conservatively plan on 12 mph (frequent stops).
)UHHZD\ NOTE: the blue and red boxes are pneumatic counting device locations. These numbers are adjusted for the number of axles on a vehicle. Also, the green numbers are count station ID numbers, and do not relate to the accounting of ADTâ€™s.
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Clearly, there is more than enough travel density / activity to justify redevelopment in this area. Also, note the differences in ADTâ€™s both north and south of the K-Mart divide on Nicollet: 11200 versus 7800 (Î” = 30.3%). Finally, it is interesting to note the gradient of how ADTâ€™s decrease as the avenues get closer to 35W. This implies a kind of human activity buffer around the highway corridor.
At left is a directional graph illustrating the direction and volume of people who work in this area and live elsewhere. The map below describes the same dataset, but applies the number of datapoints (commuters) spatially, to their destinations.
At left is a directional graph illustrating the direction and volume of people who live in this area and work elsewhere. The map below describes the same dataset, but applies the number of datapoints (commuters) spatially, to their destinations.
Generally speaking, this area follows the same density trends as any other large city in the world: there are more people and more jobs in the urban core. So, far, I have seen this same pattern present in Minneapolis, and it is for this reason that this particular site is so important. Not only is it a destination, it is also the last stop before downtown proper, and it occupies an interesting place in the gradient from the urban core out to the suburbs and exurbs. Similarly, the density of jobs increases with proximity to the urban center (the same classic principal applies to the rent gradient as well. However, the challenge is how to best exploit this for the benefit of the project site. Considering this context, it becomes more important, then, to see where residents are going to for work, and where employees are headed after work. That is, what does the commuter distribution look like?
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This map depicts where the workers that are employed in the selected block groups live. As a percentage, roughly 1/3 of the workers that are employed in the selected area live there as well. Additionally, of those that work in this area that live elsewhere, the vast majority live within a couple miles. What the past two figures imply is that most of the commuting motion is oriented toward the city.
Some notable points on both this and the following table are the statistical comparisons to the larger metro area. As people who know Minneapolis might understand intuitively is that this is an economically depressed area. This is partly evident from the map on the preceding page, but it is more clear here. That is, it is telling when there are not too many people commuting to an area to work. This tells us something about why. On the whole, people here are making much less, and they are doing so in warehousing, insurance, and construction (over the Metro Stats). Also, very few of the residents here are in potentially high-paying careers in professional or managerial areas.
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Here again, the significance is in the comparison. There are around half as many Caucasians, 4x as many Black or African American people, and magnitudes more people who identify as some other race, or Hispanic / Latino as compared to the rest of the metro area. Additionally, there are more younger people (by a small percentage), and slightly less older men.
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Historic Connections Nicollet Avenue has historically been recognized as Minneapolisâ€™ Main Street, and we still see that to a large degree today. Nicollet Mall, and Eat Street are examples of this. However, because of the construction of K-Mart, this part of the grid has been severed. Thin of the power and commercial viability that a corridor stretching all the way from S 50th St, through the hearts of Uptown and Downtown, terminating near the Mississippi River could have. Think of Hennepin. This used to be a reality. There used to be some decent density in this area, and from the images here, modern ideas like mixed-use development, streetcars, and decent sidewalks are nothing new. Indeed, on the following page, there is a diagram of the historic streetcar transit connections through the Lake and Nicollet Ave area.
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Historic Connections /PZ[VYPJ:[YLL[JHYHUK)PRL9V\[LZ The extent of the Minneapolis streetcar network was historically immense. Electric streetcar lines ran from Minneapolis and St. Paul for tens of miles out into the suburban and rural areas of the current Metro Area. The map below depicts the streetcar lines as of 1895, and commonly used bike paths as of 1899 overlayed on a current satellite image of the area. (True North mapping: www. mngeo.state.mn.us/ghol). 1895 Streetcar Routes 1899 Bike Paths (http://www.mngeo.state.mn.us/ghol/Maps. php)
Minneapolisâ€™ proposed long-range streetcar network (Metro Transit) Twin Cities 1933 Electric Streetcar System Map (Minnesota Historical Society)
Disconnections 5VY[OHUK:V\[O!5PJVSSL[HUK[OL.YPK Nicollet Avenue, being one of Minneapolis’ oldest avenues, is a significant part of Minneapolis’ history as a city. In the 1970’s, two city blocks surrounding and including Nicollet Ave between Lake Street and 29th Street were developed into a K-Mart big-box retail store. In 2000, Minneapolis’ Nicollet Avenue Task Force published a report with a myriad of suggestions and recommendations for revitalizing and celebrating this historic avenue•, one of which was the demolition of the existing K-Mart, and the reconnection of the street grid across that site. Currently, there are plans underway to have the site redeveloped for commercial and residential purposes, and for the reconnection of the street grid to be complete by 2014•2. The map above is from the city’s one-page project description. • Nicollet Avenue: Revitalization of Minneapolis’ Main Street (May, 2000)
•2 http://www.ci.minneapolis.mn.us/cip/ nicolletbridge/ Minneapolis 1901 street grid & Nicollet (http://www.mngeo.state.mn.us)
This graphic, overlaid on the current figureground of Minneapolis buildings, shows how the street grid used to be connected (1901), how it is connected today, and the changes that have been made. Note that the places where the grid has been disconnected also display building footprints and implied parcel sizes that are grossly out of scale from both their local context and historic Minneapolis character.
Disconnections ,HZ[>LZ[<WHUK+V^U According to Minneapolis Comprehensive Plans going back through the 1970â€™s, there is mention that the city has always seen Lake Street as a string of commercial nodes stretching from the Chain of Lakes to Hiawatha. Each of the N-S avenues along this corridor are important arterials connecting Lake Street / the Minneapolis Midtown area to downtown, and points south. From west to East, these are Hennepin, Lyndale, Nicollet, Chicago, Bloomington, Cedar, and Haiwatha. Additionally, at most of these nodes, there is a disconnection between the real or potential activity on the grid and the activity on the Greenway, despite the fact that they are just a few hundred feet apart. The following three pages display this disparity at Hennepin, Lyndale, and Chicago. Chicago, in this instance, represents the best connection of the three, but could still use some improvement, more active edges on the Greenway.
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The image below shows these nodes in-line as they create the East-West corridor along Lake Street. The image on the following page demonstrates how, on the ground, the K-Mart site represents a gap in this commercial node system.
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A Note on Scale ;OL\YIHUYO`[OTHUKZWHJPUN An interesting point on how these are all connected is the issue of spatial scale for three of the major transportation modes at play here. People talk about pedestrian, bike, and automobile scales of space in an urban area, but what do they mean here? Starting with the automobile: thanks to the Jeffersonian Grid, many vehicular arterials are set at onemile intervals. At 30 mph, that’s two minutes, and is a comfortable interval for most people, and the one used for this demonstration. Incidentally, at an average walking speed (4 mph), a pedestrian can cover one long Minneapolis block (N-S) in about the same amount of time (660’ takes 1’52”). Furthermore, for the cyclist, going ~11mph (Google’s standard for flat ground, established by Portland State University), one can cover 1936 feet in 2 minutes. Also incidentally, the interval between the nodes on Lake Street average 2600’, which would take an average cyclist 2’40”. Finally, after observing 50 automobiles over three days in April during normal daytime and weekend business hours, the average automobile in traffic takes 2’16” between nodes in normal traffic. This all implies that these nodes are already connected at a distance that works well for car and bike users as a regular urban rhythm, and that the space between Lake Street and the Greenway is well situated to suit the stroll of an average pedestrian. All that’s left is to implement the infrastructure.
Levels >VYSKZVM[OLZP[L In addition to connections and disconnections horizontally across the site and the Lake Street corridor, the vertical axis of the site is extremely disconnected. Nowhere else in the city is there such a wide experiential disconnect in such a short amount of space. Taking the Greenway as the datum plane (0â€™ in elevation), the grid (+20â€™ in elevation) has almost no visual or experiential connection to the greatest urban bike artery in the country (see the following pages). Furthermore, the connection between them are ramps, commonly with slopes of 8% or more, intersecting the grid at odd and non-intuitive intervals. For these reasons, and issues with wayfinding, new users (and some regulars) often have no idea where they are in relation to the street grid (the cityâ€™s primary organizing and wayfinding device) when they are on the Greenway. This is further justification for why we need complimentary and legible nodes on the Greenway that relate to Lake Street. From the grid to the highway deck (+40â€™ in elevation), there is less of a connection even than from the grid to the Greenway. On the following pages, there are images of the one pedestrian connection, two sets of crumbling concrete steps that lead to some of the loudest and most exposed bus stops in Minneapolis. Incidentally, these bus stops also enjoy some of the best views of the Minneapolis skyway of anywhere in the city. Additionally, from the highway to the grid, or any of the surrounding activity, because most of the local development is >2 stories, there is no indication of where one is (that you are crossing Lake Street, one of the most prominent streets in the city).
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Spatial Allocation on-site ;OLWPLJOHY[ If we are to consider a change in both the paradigm of priority of urban form, and the corresponding allotment of space, we must understand what is on-site now, in relation to the other spatial systems present. This chart represents those relationships, proportionally. FXUUHQW1LFROOHW FRQQHFWLRQ
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Axes of Connection ?@A The three new axes of connection, or interface, are analogous to the axes of 3 dimensional space: X, Y, and Z. X represents Lake Street and the re-connection of nodes across the corridor. With Lake and Nicollet in itâ€™s current state, it does not perform commercially, or in terms of urban design the way that it should. In no way does it currently respond to the character of other nodes along the corridor, less does the current design lend any vitality or life to the streetscape. Y represents Nicollet and the physical re-connection of this avenue. Beyond simply connecting this avenue, however, this corridor must respond to the character of Eat Street and Nicollet Mall to the north, and regain itâ€™s position as Minneapolisâ€™ symbolic main street.
Z represents connection to the Greenway. Currently, the connection from Lake and Nicollet across the K-Mart parking lot and to the Greenway works only through a narrow opening in a fence (pictured in the bottom R) and down a steep ramp directly into the traffic of the Greenway. This connection must be made more graceful, more accessible, and more enjoyable for all users.
Steps in Design To achieve the ends listed above, there are three basic steps that this design follows. Those are opening the Greenway topography (1), connecting up to the highway (2), and creating an open-space framework around which development could occur (3). Note also that these moves are reflected in the plan-view of the site/diagrams. While these are very abstract representations, they are the basis for the basic site orientation.
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â€œThe PO Pedestrian Oriented Overlay District is established to preserve and encourage the pedestrian charatcer of commercial areas and to promote street life and activity by regulating building orientation and design and accessory parking facilities, and by prohibiting certain high impact and automobile-oriented uses.â€? - Minneapolis Title 20 - Zoning Code, Chapter 551.- Overlay Districts, Article II - Pedestrian Oriented Overlay Districts
PO Overlay Districts restrict uses like drive-thru restaurants, and automobile service uses. Also, they require pedestrian oriented streetscape design by requiring >40% facade window area, reducing maximum setbacks, reducing minimum parking requirements (75% otherwise regulated), and encouraging street furniture, landscaping, vegetation, and awnings. Currently, there is a gap in the Minneapolis zoning pedestrian overlay district system, where each of the other commercial nodes along Lake Street are covered by this overly type. Nicollet has been neglected in this system because of a clear reaction to the situation of K-Mart, and itâ€™s massive parking lot, directly adjacent to Lake. Where the Franklin/Nicollet overlay district could make the only contiguous pedestrian district connection from downtown to Lake Street along Minneapolisâ€™ historic â€œmain streetâ€? the parcel size, land use, and design of this site again force a disconnection.
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By codifying the connection both from downtown to Lake, and the nodes to the East and West (Lyndale and Chicago), this proposal can help create the connections that create good, continuous connections across the city that function for pedestrians (residents and visitors alike) as well as cyclists and automobiles. Also note that this connection extends down to the Greenway. This is done as an attempt to create the same type if vibrant streetscape that is an asset to Lake Street down on the Greenway as well. Just as with Lake Street, pedestrian amenities are encouraged, as are mixed-use buildings that maintain activity and eyes on the space around the clock.
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,_PZ[PUN The existing and proposed land use plans pictured here represent the concept of mixing the uses of urban land in a way that better serves livability.
Traditionally, land uses have been discrete and separate. I propose that this type of policy / mind set needs to change. Urban areas that feel the most lively and have the most character are those that grow organically. That is, to prescribe a land use is in some way to negate the potential of the area.
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The Plan =HYPLNH[LKMHJHKLVU3HRL:[YLL[ In doing so, this design also responds to the heirarchy set-up by transit activity on the site along Lake Street (as demonstrated by the Bus Ridership graphic below).
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This graphic displays the connections between the plans and proposals shown to areas and systems of the site. Each of these plans were considered in the design of this project, but each pertain to a specific set of the site plan.
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The Plan ;YHUZP[TVKLZ One of the main ways in which a city can experience connection is through it’s network of movement. The more redundant that network is, the more access and motility it’s users experience. In this scheme, there are no roads or highways on the site which service only one mode of transportation. The chart below outlines preferred perceptual characteristics of the street for motorists versus pedestrians. It also serves to illustrate the potential streetscape differences in a mobility (see: Motorists) versus access (see: Pedestrians) model. The design of this site, especially along Lake Street and Nicollet Ave, prioritizes the perceptual preferences of pedestrians rather than motorists. See: the facade model of Lake Street (pg. XX) and section N-1 (pg. XX). In the former, the street frontage is variegated to promote pedestrian interest, in the latter, more of the street is given to pedestrians and transit rather than private automobiles.
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Form (ZRL[JOL_LYJPZL This set of sketches describes vignettes and sketches I did during preliminary design, to begin to investigate the land forms, and the build forms what were possible on the site, and what they could lend to the program.
Each drawing is orineted with North toward the lower left (looking SE). The colors correspond to the Calthorpe-inspired coding on the watercolor conceptual land use plan.
The drawing at top left illustrates what is possible with accessible grades across the site, and depicts the beginnings of my ideas for a grand stair on the eastern side of the site down to the Greenway.
The drawing in the center is my first attempt at describing the building footprints on the site. The impetus for this form was to increase activity and active edges along Lake Street and the avenues crossing the site.
The drawing at lower left illustrates an attempt to combine each of these, and served as the first draft of my master plan.
The Plan :OHKV^PUN0ZZ\LZVU[OL.YLLU^H` !UVVU As expressed by Soren Jensen, the Executive Director of the Midtown Greenway Coalition, shadowing is an extremely important issues for users of the Greenway. Especially considering our climate. Therefore, whatever new development happens on the Greenway must minimize shadowing impacts not just to ensure that the trail feels more safe and comfortable during the day and night. Also, this maximization of solar exposure will minimize the amount of water and ice on the asphalt through the seasons. The times analyzed here are used because they reflect times identified by Alta Planning + Design, in their formulation of national bike and pedestrian documentation standards, to be times and days of the year that experience the highest traffic volumes for their respective seasons. As these 3D digital models of the site demonstrate, it is relatively easy to increase density and architectural address of the Greenway while allowing solar exposure almost all of the time.
Sections :P[LZJHSLSVUNP[\KPUHSZLJ[PVUZ!I\PSKPUNZHKKYLZZPUN[OL.YLLU^H` These sections illustrate to what extent the topography surrounding the Greenway has been opened, and how buildings along the site are double-loaded to address both the Greenway and the street levels. The green colored surfaces denote areas of bike and pedestrian movement, and the pale green vertical lines represent the lateral movement of each path type along the site.
Note the darker grey building envelope outlines. These represent the potential dynamic nature of the architecture on-site to not only be interesting for passers-by, but allow for activity to face both the Greenway, Lake Street, and the avenues in between simultaneously.
These sections illustrate how, at the pedestrian scale, people interact with the Greenway from the street level. These sections on Blaisdell demonstrate how the street grid and the Greenway might interact across the sculptural stair elements, and plaza. On the following page, the sections demonstrate how the streetcar stop and pedestrian promenade at Nicollet and the Greenway interact (N-1), and an indication of the ramp space which 5 ) folds below S 1st Ave. (1-1 and 1-2).
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Like many of the other spaces on this site, the Great Lawn, and the streetcar stop that is connected both to the Greenway via vertical circulation and the Pedestrian Promenade along the mixed use development on the south side of the trail is meant to both put eyes on the street, and facilitate interaction. This is achieved by creating spaces that maintain community agency at both a local and municipal scale, and by mixing the way in which people can interact across grades, or levels of the site.
There are three areas that, while very different in program, serve similar functions as social tools. That is, deyond connecting the site through transit mode variation, and physically connect the X, Y, and Z axes, we can connect people through the creation of community as well. These spaces serve to bring people together in democratic public open space, that they might interact in a meaningful way.
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This area responds to the needs of people in the community to have access to healthy, potentially organic food. As recommended by the Minneapolis Urban Agriculture Policy Plan, and approved by the City of Minneapolis, community gardeners are now able to sell, in a limited capacity, their surplus produce. So, with the inclusion of a farmerâ€™s market and an anchor-tenant grocer, both visitors and residents can produce and purchase food for their families in a variety of ways within a single block.
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This plaza and promenade react both to the need of this site to support more alternative transportation, including bike share initiatives like Nice Ride, and the need for eyes on the street. With mixed-use facing the Greenway, the idea is that there will be people and activity at all times of the day and night. Commercial activity activates the space during the day, and residential activity makes it feel safer at night.
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Published on Feb 21, 2013
Prescott Morrill MLA+MURP 2012 University of Minnesota Matthew Tucker Committee Assistant Professor UMN|LA