Separate Streets Separate Sidewalks

Proposed is a single platform from which rise all the various structures of the 16 acre site.


Eighteen feet above the ground, this expanse envelops all the buildings. Their portals and shop-windows look out onto this elevation. It is landscaped. It is a pedestrian street.

The roadway below has no sidewalks. It is bare of all but structural beams. There are no pedestrians.It is entirely devoted to vehicular traffic.

The ground level walls of the buildings are perforated by thru-streets and entries for ramps to parking areas. Escalators rise to the sidewalk.

CONSIDERATIONS:

  1. The Keystone

  2. The Results

  3. Why Here

  4. The Future

  5. The Memorial

      Addendum

1. THE KEYSTONE:     

Cities began in Jerico. They have changed tremendously since then. Except for the streets. However improved, the streets remain basically what they have always been. The buildings have adapted. They incorporate all the millennia's advances; they serve us well. But not the streets.As access routes for both man and beast they have not kept up. Today, Peter Stuyvesant, New York's first governor, would rub his eyes with amazement. He would not recognize the buildings, not the infrastructure, not the transport. But he would know the streets. The streets his wooden leg once hobbled on are still here, improved yes, but ulike all else - they have not been transformed.

For a very long time that did not matter. For a long time the old streets were able to accommodated the new world. Well sprung coaches ran on them as easily as lumbering wagons. Electric trams made do with them as well as had ox-drawn carts. For a long time, putting down more pavement, and digging sewers, and innovating traffic lights, one way avenues, alternate parking, no standing zones, sufficed.

But then it stopped being enough. The city became constipated. It began to gasp and wheeze. The condition was acknowledged, but not its cause. Even now this arteriosclerosis is attributed to the traffic, rather than to the inadequacy of the streets. The nature of her arteries is the problem. They no longer suit the creature. It has outgrown its circulatory system. Surgeons have learned to replace veins in human beings, to strip arteries of their plaque. But our audacity has not extended to  the city's arteriosclerosis. We suffer it supinely. We do not consider fundamental solutions for the city's ills. We gripe about the traffic as though it were the weather. We are blind  to the malleability of the streets. We think of them as unalterable, as immutable and sacrosanct, as incommutable. That mindset must be bulldozed.

Until the streets are changed the city will remain both hopelessly constipated and incontinent. It will be stuck with its impossible traffic, its impossible parking, with its grotesque bags of garbage spilling across sidewalks. It will remain mired in the past with roadbeds forever potholed, forever torn up and patched up, a town forever dirty, ugly, noisy, and deadly, a town that restricts a large part of its population to bricks and asphalt and grime. While the old streets grip the city we are stuck. We must free ourselves.

A city is convenience and a liberation. It means endless variety, immediate access, the latest and best, speed. Everything is available and practical and handy. As against the country hick, the city slicker is freed from the constraints of distance, time and monotony. He flatters himself as talking  faster, thinking quicker, doing more living. - But he is in fact in the boondocks. For his life is spent looking for a parking space, his lunch time means feeding the parking meter, and he sits endlessly in traffic while pedestrians make better time, never mind bicycles.

The dream of a skyscraper city crumbles (even as increasing numbers are able to live luxuriously and work efficiently in high-rises) if people are NOT able to move easily between buildings. The dream turns into a nightmare as private citizens are forced into numbing mass transit 

The city has come up against its most fundamental limitation, the streets. Today  they constricts it, strangle it, stop its progress. The city must find a way to move on.