Design & Development
May 13, 2019

What’s the best layout for a subway car?

TransLink was recently asking Vancouverites for suggestions on the best seating design for new SkyTrain cars.  Hopefully they saw this video from Cheddar on a study done for New York’s transit system:

Are the cars the MTA uses currently the best for the way we ride the subway? In 2013, researchers from Operations Planning Group at NYCT submitted their improved design to the Transportation Research Board.

(Click headline of post to show video.)

Yeah, it’s fodder for ELMTOTs*, but it also an exploration of human behaviour in confined spaces and how design affects us.

 

* Urban Dictionary: “Stands for Expo Line Memes for TransLink Oriented Teens. It’s a Facebook group for over 1300 kids-with-no-life to share memes of Vancouver.”

And doesn’t that screen capture above look like Vancouver?  It’s probably Long Island City, as the East River shoreline transforms into False Creek.

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Surprise: it built bike lanes.  This video shows how, from 2007, the Big Apple did it, and the results it got.  (Hey, Commercial Drive, retail sales went up.)

As the Transportation Commissioner at the time, Janette Sadik-Kahn, says at the end (definitely not a spoiler alert): “If you want to build a better city, you can start by building bike lanes.”

(For video, click Read More)

Thanks to Karole Sutherland.

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Now that Google’s Streetview has been in operation for a decade, and conveniently provides its available archive with each image, it’s possible to do what Guest suggests in the post below:

You could take a similar pic – but in reverse and with a future transition – of the former Granville 7 Theatre on Granville Steet.

i.e. bustling pic of the movie crowds in the 1990s, boarded up with chain link fence and homeless camped out for the past few years after the theatre closed, and in a few more years (hopefully) bustling again as a Cineplex Rec Room.

Here’s the result so far:

2007:

2011:

2018:

The current street scene, at least in these shots, is not as dramatic as it can be, when there are rough shelters under the canopies.  Whereas the difference in New York from the 1980s to now – in this case, the Brooklyn neighbourhood of Bushwick – is unmissable.  Almost inconceivable.

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Two Vancouver urbanistas – Michael Gordon and Gordon Price – have decided to celebrate their birthdays in New York City.  Help us out.

  • What off-the-beaten-tourist-tracks should we hike?  (And remember, we’ve seen a lot of NYC.)
  • What’s new in the boroughs?  Even Jersey.
  • Shows, performances, galleries, museums?  (Middle of March through April.)
  • Restaurants, of course.  (Food carts too.)
  • Your favourite book about, set in or metaphorically referencing the Apple.  (Video series, movies or print articles included.  Even policy reports.)

Are you in New York?  Would you like to meet?  Would you buy us a beer or a cupcake with a candle?

And yes, of course we’ll use Citibike.

 

 

 

 

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This is a shot I took on my New York trip in August (see Urbanist Abroad) that I selected to illustrate a special feature of the city. (Nope, not the Citibikes nor the bike lane.)

This is the unit block of East 2nd Street, in a neighbourhood that doesn’t seem to have its own name yet; it could be one of six. Maybe the realtors have decided by now; I couldn’t really say.

But I could tell you the name of the tree just behind the white SUV (it’s a Japanese Pagoda), its ID No. (377062), its diameter (18″), and the value of its benefits to the city ($245.90).  That’s US$, folks.

I know all that because of this:

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I’m off again — another trip (ah, the retired life). This time to New York.

I’ve been visiting the city since the mid-1970s (quite a different scene back then), and watched the city change.

Conclusion: NYC has become an ‘historic’ city, reflecting in its architecture the power and wealth of the 20th century, just as Florence did in the 16th century, as Amsterdam did in the 17th, London in the 18th, Paris in the 19th.

But there’s always something new. On top of the must-visit list is Hudson Yards — and in particular the public-art centrepiece, The Vessel, pictured above. (It’s not open yet, but should be near completion).

What else should be on my list of must-sees? Knowledgeable PT readers no doubt have suggestions, including the offbeat and out-of-the-way — beyond Manhattan. Food recommendations always appreciated too.

Add them in the Comments. You can also follow me on my new, personal Instagram account @GordonPriceYVR, with summaries provided on this blog periodically.

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Trust New York City to lead the way. In this post from Curbed.com the David Bowie retrospective at the Brooklyn Museum has used its starpower to transform the Broadway-Lafayette subway station in an ode to Bowiedom.
There are also  five different transit MetroCards that have been Bowie branded, and those have been released in a limited edition of 250,000 not consecutively but randomly. The  Broadway-Lafayette subway station’s walls are full of photos of Bowie’s remarkable performances, images and life. And here’s the coolest part, this subway station was the one closest to Bowie’s New York City home. You have until May to see this unique collaboration of images that have been curated with the co-sponsorship of Spotify. Spotify is also introducing the “David Bowie Stories” series, looking at the musical icon’s life, tales and essays in concert with photos and videos from the David Bowie Archive. This subway artshow/branding has been an effective blend of pop culture history and art. Here is an opportunity for other  transit systems pick up the idea of crossmarketing cultural events and exhibitions, making art in transit more accessible to all.
Below is a six-minute YouTube video of a transit walk through the Bowiefied Subway Station.


 
 

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