Transportation in a car-minimal city

The goal of removing cars is to reduce the carbon impact of the city under discussion, but it also helps reduce the overall heat island effect caused by the massive black surfaces that cover most of a given city. However, the first consideration must be transportation: over short to moderate distances, the preferred method would most likely be walking and biking, but that still leaves long distances; without cars, this falls to public transit, and lacking omnibuses, that means trains. I’ve explicitly excluded omnibuses because including them in planning means including roads in the city design, and my goal is to avoid traditional roads as much as possible. Instead, a subway system allows for rapid moderate-to-long distance travel within the city, and can be readily integrated into other transit systems (inter-city rail, airports) while maintaining the goal of this project.

With constructing a city and a transit system, certain elements must be taken into consideration: having all the workers in the downtown routing through one central rail station is a complete fallacy, as the chaos that would result on any given working day would slow down operations for far longer than a usual rush hour; as such, ideally there would be between three and five central stations: one connected to the inner-city rail station (convergent between at least one east-west and north-south subway line), and then between two and four other stations to handle traffic along lines going out to the residential and industrial areas surrounding the city core. These additional stations would allow the core station to be an interface between intra-city and inter-city transit, while still collecting connexions between lines; if the distances between them were large enough, a circulator running through these additional routing stations would be sensible; such a circulator also seems sensible for adding at various distances out into the residential and industrial regions, but that would depend on the desire to travel between destinations without simply riding a bike. This point brings us to the next topic, bike trails as road replacement and overarching transit mechanism.

Bikes are useful, human-powered transit; this comes as a surprise to no one who’s developed a sense of balance that can stand not actually being in contact with the ground personally, and who has fun tooling about, jockeying with cars for road space. To that effect, this new city concept is based around their use on a regular basis, and would be designed to make the most of their idiosyncracies and benefits, as well as take advantage of the far lower costs of maintenance associated with them: bike paths, even heavily-utilised ones such as the Greenway in Minneapolis, deteriorate far more slowly than roads, and can be built with more recycled rubber and other less dense materials, reducing the amount of heat they trap as opposed to asphalt. Additionally, a given bike trail is anywhere between 1/2 and 1/3 the size of a comparable road: this reduction alone in the amount of open blacktop in a city would significantly reduce the heat island effect, especially in conjunction with other enhancements which will be laid out in later posts.

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