The easiest place to get on the Bloomingdale Trail now will remain the easiest place. This access point will have three entry points, two of them are ramps.
I say a decade because that’s how long it will take for all the plants and landscaping on the Bloomingdale Trail elevated park to look like how it appears in these fancy renderings by Michael Van Walkenburg & Associates.
Western Trailhead at Ridgeway Avenue pops up 10 feet above the trail level, over 20 feet above ground level.
You can see Adler Planetarium from the Sky Park at MDA City Apartments, 63 E Lake Street.
The Chicago Architecture Foundation arranged with building owners and tenants to give the public access to awesome spaces this past weekend, on Saturday and Sunday. Aside from frustration with the interface and design problems with the website, I thoroughly enjoyed each site I visited. View a list of all the sites that were open.
The last thing we did in Detroit was visit the Michigan Central Station, once the world’s tallest train station (according to contributors of Wikipedia). It’s an interesting area, with big lawns and boulevards leading up to it. There are many homeless people hanging around under the broad trees. One of them came over to ask that I don’t take her photo.
A guy riding his bike came over to talk to us. I asked him if he knew how to get into the train station. He did and showed us where the fence could be easily lifted (someone even tied a rope to the fence) and you could slip under. I gave him a dollar for his help (actually, he asked when I said goodbye).
Thankfully the cool station is on the National Register of Historic Places* making demolition much harder. The problem is getting the right idea and developer married to renovate the station and put it back into productive use.
Amtrak served the station until 1988. I find it odd that Amtrak, or any passenger train, came here in the first place – the station feels far from downtown Detroit. Walking is possible, along Michigan Avenue, but there’s no street activity along the way. I presume that when it was constructed in 1913, the Corktown neighborhood was a bit more hoppin’.
We walked from the train station to the Greyhound station at 1001 Howard Street, a 1.2 mile walk. We stopped for lunch at Great Wall Chinese Food. It was cheap and tasty. Another customer there told us he drives 40 minutes for this restaurant. He also said he worked the light show at the VitaminWater stage at the Movement Festival (formerly Detroit Electronic Music Festival) we spent the previous two days dancing at.
Someone has placed letters at the top of the building saying, SAVE THE DEPOT.
Detroit has so much space. What should we do with all of that room?
*The National Register website doesn’t have permalinks (stupid). So search here for reference number “75000969” or name, “Penn Central Station”. I don’t know why the NHRP calls it Penn Central Station.
When a city can gather data on every aspect of it’s citizens activities, what should we do with it? What products, services and environments should we develop?
Many private and public sector organisations are rushing us towards a future state where every cup of coffee, cell phone, taxi, bus, street and building will be self-aware and communicating with us and each other. Rather than asking when is this future coming, I’d like to ask what will we do once it’s here.
That’s the description of a class taught by George Aye at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago. I visited the class twice to hear and watch their presentation on minimizing disruptions caused by traffic crashes at a specific intersection, but whose new system elements can be transferred to other intersections in the city. When I came back the second time, the students had figured out a way to animate the intersection using a projector and mirror (which you see at the end of the video).
A static shot of the animation on the 3D paperboard and mixed material model.
The intersection in question is “The Crotch”, or the center of Wicker Park, at Milwaukee-North-Damen. The goal was to imagine how smart processes, policies, and technologies can be used to minimize the disruption of crashes at this intersection and others like it. The first phase of the students’ plan is about preventing crashes and the second phase is about speeding up the investigation. If you want to know more, you’ll have to read the class blog, which documents, through narrative, photos and video, the students’ progress.
Some of their proposal for Milwaukee Avenue in this area included:
Barring private automobiles at certain times to give more room to more efficient modes, like buses and bicycles
During the ban period, allow taxis and possibly car-sharing cars
At all times of the day, deliveries (like beer) would be scheduled in advanced to better use existing and consolidated loading zones; when trucks use loading zones, they aren’t blocking traffic
Implement a Barnes dance (pedestrian scramble) at The Crotch to accommodate existing pedestrian crossing behaviors and speed up crossing times of what are now two-leg crossings (like walking north or south on west side of Damen Avenue, which requires a crossing distance of about 180 feet on two segments while the crosswalk signal cycle may not let you do consecutively; a direct crossing is only 72 feet)