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tv   AHTV KEYED - Lectures in History - Development of Parkways Freeways  CSPAN  September 10, 2021 6:18pm-7:34pm EDT

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this year marks the 20th anniversary of the september 11th attacks. join us for live coverage from new york, the pentagon, and shanksville, pennsylvania, starting at 7:00 a.m. eastern, saturday on c-span. watch online at or listen on the c-span radio app. up next on "lectures in history," iowa state university professor heidi hohmann teaches a class on the rise of automobiles and the creation of roads leading to and through parks which became known as parkways. she talks about how those innovation were later used in the development of america's freeway system. >> okay, gang. today we are looking at the
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development of roads and the role of the landscape architect. the modern freeway that you guys drive every day has its roots in landscape architecture and park planning that we've been talking about this semester. this familiar landscape, which everyone should, i hope, recognize, which is of course prospect park. so we look at central park, then at prospect park. the next great park in the 1860s. they designed roads associated with this park. these were intended to be broad, tree-lined streets, spinning off
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the edges of the park in here. and there were originally supposed to be four. two were actually built, eastern and ocean parkway. here is a view of ocean parkway from 1894. if we think about this, which is the first, one of the first references to parkways in the united states, olmsted and vox based their idea off an avenue in paris, if you think about the work we talked about earlier, in this early conception of the parkway they're thinking about a couple of rather simple ideas. first, it's a wider than average street, right? it's wider. second, a parkway in the early conception was usually tree-lined. and we've talked a little bit about boulevards.
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essentially a parkway in the beginning was a wide street with trees, indistinguishable from the term "boulevard." so they're pretty much identical. the most significant aspect or difference is the name, which provided a sense of the utility of the parkway as linking a park to park. so the parkway provides the psychological carryover of the restful influence of one large park area into its echo in another with little or no interruption along the way. so there is this idea of park is connected seamlessly with a parkway. parkways came to be a little more serious with the design of this system, which is, anyone? yeah, the buffalo park system, designed by olmsted and vox in 1871.
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and we can see on these images the parkways connecting the pieces of the park system, the front, the parade, and delaware park. and as we talked about earlier, these early parkways were usually aligned with existing city grid forms, okay? so there's some ornamentation here in this part of the plan, but essentially there are these kind of straight line grid following boulevard systems. and the parkway as part of a park system spreads across the united states, seen here in chicago's west park system, jensen the designer, and kansas city park system. again, their orthogonal, kind of gridded environments, wide streets, tree-lined, connect egg connecting park to park. these early park systems as they develop over time begin to
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expand and get larger and larger. so the red box on here is the previous slide. so we just looked at that system. we can see it extending to connect the riverfront park designed by kessler down to a large country park which becomes developed later on in the development of kansas city. so early park ways, key aspect here is that they are intraurban within the city. they're used to structure the inside of the city connecting park to park, downtown to park, residences to park. and early park ways have a maximum distance of about 10 to 20 miles, okay? other well-known park and parkway systems, we talked about buffalo, chicago. minneapolis, louisville, denver, seattle, essex county. all over the country, people began building these park systems and using parkways as a way to connect them.
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and just looking at some of the designers, of course, the olmsted firm featuring greatly. kessler, of course cleveland in minneapolis, and janssen and others in chicago. as parkways develop, landscape architects classify them into two types. the ones we've been looking at, known as formal parkways, and another type which they begin to call informal parkways. what does informal mean? it basically means that they are curve linear and no longer follow the grid. the minneapolis parkway system, if you look at this plan, we have the formal system here with memorial drive. this was actually developed later as a formal parkway. here we can see the informal parkway rolling along the lakes in minneapolis. and instead of being aligned with the grid system, the
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informal parkways were aligned with natural features. now, we've talked about this a little before, the parkway begins to be thought about as a separate entity when they begin to classify them as informal parkways. john charles olmsted, whom we've talked about previously as the stepson of frederick olmsted senior, becomes a member of the firm in the late 1880s, writes an important article on parkways called classes of park ways, in "landscape architecture" magazine, in 1913. he characterizes parkways at this time. it's an interesting article because it's going to classify things in a way that people start to think about parkways differently. and he describes them as formal
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and informal, and describes the informal parkway as being superior for a number of reasons, summarized here. the first is that it was curve linear, as we talked about, adjusted to move along river channels, topographical differences and other natural features and property boundaries which might not be completely straight as well. because they were laid out to fit the topography, they could be graded more easily than straight alignments. so this would cut down on their development costs. they also did less damage to the adjacent landscape. you didn't have to grade so much around the roadbed. so he advocates for informal parkways as the preferred form for city development and for
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planning future city development, in part because when you had a parkway curving through a residential district, that area could then become the park for the surrounding residences. and to make this particularly effective, he says that it is worth purchasing or taking the land and -- oops, wrong way -- and having that land under the park commission. the other aspect of the article that is worth looking at is, he says that parkways are not just parks but they are also transportation corridors. and as we've talked about, we've had carriage ways, pedestrian paths, and bridal paths. they've also become part of parkways, as seen here in this
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absolutely gigantic cross-sectional drawing. and i like this cross-sectional drawing because it kind of shows a hypothetical section of a rapid transit parkway or boulevard, and it's literally 400 feet wide. so your average road, two-lane road today is about 40 feet wide. so this is ten times the width. and within this, he says that you can begin to, in this cross-section of the parkway, we can begin to think about putting in different uses. so under here he says we can have rapid transit, electric rail. we've got a tree strip, so different modes of transit. we would call this today a multimodal parkway. these different areas would be divided by green, trees, grass, lawn, and even park. so trollies in the 1900s are one
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of the preferred forms of public transportation. but i also love this drawing because right in here he's got automobile drive, right? so 1913 already, john charles olmsted is sort of saying, wow, we can put cars on parkways too, right? he's thinking forward. this is the thing that begins to move landscape architects out of the park business and into the roadway business. okay? so let's take a closer look at one of these cross-sections, again looking at a park system that you are perhaps familiar with, the emerald necklace in boston. this is a great example of an informal parkway being used as both a parkway and a transit corridor. and in around 1887, when this system was initially being designed, the roads connecting
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the parks within the necklace included different sections. there was the arborway connecting the arnold arboretum to jamaica pond. franklin park connected by another section. and the river way connecting the back bay fens to jamaica pond as well. we'll zoom in on this section and look at that cross-section in greater detail in a second. from this plan, what i would like you to kind of notice is that the parkway system is laid out not along the grids of boston, not that boston has a lot of grids because it's an old city, but it's laid out along the corridor of the muddy river here. so it has a curvilinear path. another characteristic of it is that it's widened, okay? so there's places where it actually widens out to encompass
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park uses. then there's places it gets skinnier, to skinny its way in between residential areas. and what's my other characteristic here? it follows the natural terrain of the landscape. here it is in a photographic view. this is probably from the late '20s, early '30s, from a book by henry vincent hubbard called "park ways and land values," and we're getting to in a moment. we can see the characteristic of that cross-section. it's a really beautiful, leafy scene here. we've got lots of trees, main carriageway, frontage road over here, bridal path here as well. this beautiful leafy environment serves for both transit and for park. you can take a little stroll. if we look at this slide, this
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is, again, that same section, jamaica pond is over here. and here is the arborway and the jamaica way, which is the other section. and i've got three lines here showing different cross-sections of the parkway. and we can see those here. so the red line matches the blue line matches the green line. we can actually see how the parkway expands and contracts to meet its surroundings, right? so in some places it's wider. in some places it's narrower. and we have different elements including roadway, bridal path, walk, and the park on the side of the road. here it's a little bit wider, okay? so main roadway, frontage road, allowing, if i live over on the residential sides, to allow me to get onto that main roadway. so that's one of the key aspects of the boston parkway system, is
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that it has access. in the early parkway systems, if i live on the side of this, i have direct access. i have the rights of light, air, and public access to the roadway, okay? that is a significant part of american parkway park systems in the late 19th and early 20th century. this will change, however, as we move to the modern parkway. so here is a diagram showing that. so we've got streets. we've got access from the streets onto the main road. and individual residents, shown with the blue arrows, can access that roadway as well. it's this kind of integrated system where residential areas, parks, and roadway are all kind
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of connected in this happy kind of environment. the first modern parkway is generally considered to be this one, the bronx river parkway. and like the parkways of the emerald necklace in boston, which were initially created as a sanitary improvement, the bronx river parkway was an effort to conserve the polluted bronx river in westchester county, new york. and this is sort of a scene, a nice sylvan landscape scene. much of the bronx river parkway initially looked like this, okay? if we look closely here, we've got people's laundry back here. and right there, that image is an outhouse, right? so if you think about pollution, we actually have sanitary waste pretty much probably flowing down into the bronx river down
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here. so in 1907, the bronx river parkway commission, sort of like a park commission, but a parkway commission, an independent agency of the city, was authorized to survey, acquire, design, and construct a 16-mile linear parkway along the river. and like the muddy river in boston, it was going to be a "let's clean up the river" project. pollution control, sanitary, sewers, roads, park, all combined into one. and the property was acquired by 1909. they had some political and financial problems, and they begin construction in 1916. then in 1916, wham, world war i happens. so it's delayed until 1919, is when they begin to construct it. the parkway was designed by a team of designers.
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and in addition to the landscape architects herman merkel and gilmore clarke, was jay downer, the engineer. the park combined both driving and the preservation of landscape and scenic features. so merkel and gilmer clarke did the planting, road alignment, and slope design, while jay downer, the engineer, worked on the technical aspects and a series of bridges across the parkway. in addition, along the driveway they inserted a series of parks in the roadway along either side. and other fun facts to know, there was a 40-foot drive lane associated in the right-of-way. so it looks sort of like what
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we've been talking about in terms of parkway design. what makes it modern? this is what makes it modern. the automobile. by 1919, cars are becoming increasingly popular in the united states. and although the road was designed as a parkway, the bronx river parkway in contrast to its predecessors was designed specifically for automobiles traveling at speeds of 25 to 35 miles an hour, okay? so what makes it modern is this, right? the idea of combining cars with landscape design, right? and we combine the features of traditional 19th century parkways with five innovations for accommodating faster-moving automobile traffic. so it's really the car that
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begins to transform the parkway from a scenic device, a park device, to a transportation device. and this evolution is what we're going to talk about for the next -- for the rest of the class today. but we're going to start by looking at these four innovations that begin to change the parkway. okay. so number one, the first and perhaps the most important are the use of long curves, okay? a lot of you guys have graded roads in your grading classes, you've done the math on this. when we're looking at a little trail, we can do a lot of kind of curvy-wurvy zigs and zags as we're walking slowly. as we're moving faster, sharp turns become problematic when we're driving faster and faster. as we're designing a road for faster speeds, the curves begin
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to be longer. you can start to see this in this aerial view of the bronx river parkway, where here is a very nice straight line, which is -- anybody want to guess what that is? a railroad, exactly. and here is the bronx river parkway. so we can see, to accommodate cars moving at 20 to 30 miles an hour, with these broad curves connected to straight line tangents connected to broad spiral curves, it creates this beautiful, sinuous line moving through the landscape, okay? that's change number one. change number two is, as we accommodate a wider roadbed, 40 feet wide, we get a wider and wider right-of-way. this is a landscape development plan for the roadway. we can start to see two things about the right-of-way, okay? first of all, it's not
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consistent, okay? so it's not just a consistent narrow strip running through the terrain. but it actually widens to open up to provide view sheds or actually over here to provide park experiences. and the roadbed gets wider and wider, right? it's up to that 400-feet width that john charles olmsted was talking about in his article. in addition, number three, and i like this sort of image because here we can see the local roads, one of the local roads around it. and you will see there is no access onto the main parkway. to accommodate faster moving traffic, we eliminate that access point. why? because small children are going to run out into the cars and get crushed, right? so there's no access or what we would call limited access.
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so specific points are designed where you can get on the roadway. and in fact, to do this, to make this particularly useful, we start to say that we're going to allow local traffic to travel over the roadway. so the parkway, with its beautiful sinuous curving line, moves through the landscape. and we maybe perhaps mound up a little soil and build bridges allowing local traffic to move over that. and at specific places, design what we all know today as a freeway interchange, essentially, right? so here is the road moving over. here are our abutting owners. they have no right of access. so they've got to come out, come down the road, come bck and get on that parkway here, a major
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conceptual change in the design of roadways, okay? and the bridge, which does the bridge come from, where have we seen that bridge before, anyone? central park, exactly, right? the grade crossing elimination structure, okay? voila. the birth of the limited access roadway through the creation of these particular bridges, right? one of the interesting things here as we kind of look at this road is, wow, you kind of feel like you're out in the country, don't you? this is beautiful, a tableau here, a park, you're driving down, we have this beautiful rustic stone bridge, a little bridal path there. you've got to love -- look at the details. look at that delightful wood post light post that can be lit at night. a lovely scene. this is one of the period parts about parkways.
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very modern. the car, the model t running through here. yet we look like we're in a bucolic, pastoral landscape. these do not look particularly technologically driven, do they? and in fact, as we look at other features on the roadside, this looks like a nice little dutch cottage, doesn't it? it is a gas station. so the gas station has trellises, doesn't exactly look like your 7-eleven today, does it? it's kind of cute. and there's this idea of camouflaging, almost, the modern technology of the automobile with this nostalgic view of the park, parkway, or countryside.
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this is one of the weird parts about early roadway design is, technologically it's quite advanced, right? it's moving at speeds. it's hard for us to think about this as something exciting, moving 25 miles an hour. but i invite you to cast your mind back to when you first started driving a car, and you're driving along and it's going 25 miles an hour, and you think you're going to drive into something and it's kind of scary. this driving at 25 miles an hour was a new sensation, something that we don't sort of think about today. and perhaps this nostalgic stone-clad bridged environment tempered that feeling of technology somewhat. huge success. bronx river parkway is embraced with a great passion. and we can see a postcard view.
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when was the last time someone sent you a postcard of a road? so you're going to send a postcard, dear auntie mae, i drove along the bronx river parkway today. not something we would normally do. this is a postcard view. very, very popular. people would go out for the sunday drive. a couple of things to notice, no stripe down the middle of the road. probably was a big, fat free for all, right? so we've got traffic going in both directions on here. i think these were probably pretty exciting to drive on. in addition to recreation, so we have the idea of the park, people driving along the scenic landscaped boulevard for recreation. the other thing people realize is, wow, i can actually use this to get places, right? and people begin to sort of say, hmm, i can be on a bumpy old dirt road somewhere or i can be on the modern parkway with a concrete or asphalt surface and
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i can be flying along here. so people begin to realize that these are convenient. and around the parkways, just as we see with the development of parks, minneapolis park system, bergen, people want to live next to the parkway, right? you have access to recreation, to parks. you also have access to transportation. so it spurs residential construction. the parkway was built, houses began to build up. people began to realize they could use these roads for commuting. so the landscape is a social and economic success. more parkways soon followed in its wake. perhaps one of the most famous was the westchester county park and parkway system, which was an extension of the bronx river parkway. so bronx river parkway is down
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in here, and westchester county takes the idea of parkways and runs with them and creates a whole series of parkways, sawmill parkway, hudson river parkway, all managed by the westchester county park commissioners. this is a little bit different from the way we view roads today, which are usually managed by highway commissions, county engineers, right? or the department of transportation, the d.o.t., idot, the dots, right? the dots are not managing early parkways. park commissioners are managing park ways. because of this, esthetics are really important. the nature of these landscapes becomes increasingly important. if we look at a series of cross-sections from the westchester county parks system,
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we can see hutchinson, sawmill, bronx river, bronx parkway extension. they are these leafy environments. we've got the roadway, the roadway in many cases is actually a very small percentage of the actual parkway system. so we're hopping on the parkways. we're driving to parks, we're driving to other people's houses. and these are esthetic experiences, not just transportation experiences. new york also spawns the long island parkway system. this is designed initially not as nydot but ny state park system. the state parks, robert moses, who is a rather famous builder/developer in new york, designs in his early years of
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work, the new york/long island parks/parkway system. what this system did was connected manhattan, people living in manhattan, out to the beaches of long island. we talked about this earlier in our national state park lecture, about jones beach state park, places like this which were these massive recreational facilities and people could hop on their car in the bronx, get on the central parkway, midtown, southern parkway, and come out to the beaches. so popular, 350,000 users in one summer day in 1936. right? who knew there were that many cars in new york at the time? a couple of things we're beginning to see here in terms of design, we're beginning to start to think about not just one highway arch but two for traffic in two directions,
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right? so we're trying to expand the ideas. and here again, that delightful free for all in terms of striping. we'll start to see some modifications here in a minute. so i like to call the 1930s the heyday of the american parkway, american modern parkway. and there's a couple of things to think about when it comes to certain characteristics of the parkway. first of all, one of the things the american parkway during this time period was, it was a collaboration between engineers, landscape architects, and architects. engineers did the technical work, the laying out of the roads, the spiral curves, the bridges, the grades. landscape architects thought
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about the planting design, the view sheds, the way you would experience this roadway. architects would provide the bridges and structures, right? and an artistic sensibility. unlike early parkway systems, they are large, and they're actually beginning to think about regions instead of being intraurban, they begin to be interurban. they begin to connect different places, connect cities. and the third thing is they begin to function as planning tools. people start to say, wow, we're going to use the parkway to think about developing not just the city but the region around it. out of the urban and out of the heyday of the parkway, two major types of park ways emerge. the first is what i call urban or regional parkways. the second are national park service or scenic parkways. so we're going to talk about both of these.
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the first, urban and regional, have a couple of characteristics. the first characteristic is that they increasingly, following the 1930s, begin to focus on transportation over recreation. the second is they are located in and around urban areas. and the third is that they are limited access. a couple of examples. the merit parkway in connecticut, taconic parkway in new york, baltimore washington parkway in the mid-atlantic region. we're going to look at two of these, the merritt parkway and the taconic parkway. number one, merritt parkway, i like this example because it begins to show how parkways which were initially more park
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oriented begin to change to accommodate changing aspects of the urban environment. this is a great view of the merritt parkway, one of the hills coming down. you can see some of its innovations which included curbs along the roadside to facilitate drainage. and you can see it's a pretty leafy environment. the other thing you can actually see is we are beginning to get what we now call a highway median, right? to prevent people from driving over into other people's lanes. so the merritt parkway is over twice the length of the prongs river parkway. it's 38 miles long. it was designed under the direction of the connecticut state highway commission, okay? so no longer being designed by park commissions but now there is a highway commission involved.
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thayer chase was the consulting architect for the right-of-way. george dunkelberger was the architect. 38 miles, we can see parkways getting longer. they're beginning to connect different things. it has a 300-foot consistent right-of-way which expands in some places to become a little bit wider, in part because we're now creating a larger margin median. design speed, 50 to 60 miles an hour. what does that do? that begins to think about flattening the curves, right? the quicker we go, the more gentle we want the curves, otherwise you're going to spin off of them. another thing that begins to happen is they begin to get an 8% grade, they become less steep.
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8%, that's about the slope of a handicapped ramp. so it's not like they're completely dead level either. another view of the merritt. you can see here that 300-foot right-of-way was 100 feet wider than the westchester county parkways. but the transportation intent of the merritt was also seen in fact that the right-of-way was consistent throughout its length, without widenings for recreational areas. and there were no walking or riding paths, bridal paths along the side. it was now simply the two lanes of automobile traffic. regional in scope, it was designed to connect new york city and new residential communities in connecticut. it went through fairfield and new haven counties.
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and one of its major uses was to provide ease of movement through coastal communities, coastal towns, which previously had inserted little connecting roads. now you could move relatively easily from the merritt parkway to the bronx river parkway, down into new york and manhattan. so it was very much a commuter road, which it is still today. so the merritt parkway is still used. the other aspect is the divided roadway, which we've talked about. the divided roadway was two 26-foot-wide concrete lanes separated by a median that ranged from relatively narrow to 22 feet wide. and an interesting innovation was they began to use reflectors on the curves to guide people at night, so the headlights would reflect off the curbs and you
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could tell where the edge was the road is, presaging all of that reflective paint that we all have on the side of our roads today. as you can see here, lots of plantings in the middle of the roadway. and at the time, critics described the planting design as lavish and sensitive, in the 1950s when it reached maturity. and the road today is still known for its plantings of flowering dogwood and its kind of logo is a flowering dogwood blossom for the merritt parkway. so it's known for its unique plantings. finally, the bridges on the merritt parkway were extremely carefully designed. not one of them is the same. each one has a different architectural character to it. this i think is a drawing
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documenting saugatuck river bridge. when i lived in connecticut i used to drive the merritt parkway quite often. this is my personal favorite, there's a pair of giant angel wings on one of the bridges in the center. another one is a metal bridge with spider webs on the metal work. there are these beautiful, beautiful kind of landmarks as you drive down the road. so it's very much anesthetic experience, right? you would be surrounded by flowering dogwood trees, looking at the angel wings which are going to take you to heaven after you crashed. these were meant to be kind of beautiful experiences. and just fun facts, 68 bridges along the parkway, each one
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completely unique, detailed in a variety of styles, moderne, art deco, art nouveau, various arc architectural styles. in contrast, the taconic parkway kind of continued the westchester county parkway system, which was down here. and it connected into bronx river, westchester county parkway system. and it connected new york city with the capital of new york, albany. so it runs up the east side of new york. and it's about 80 miles in length. and it was begun in the 1930s. however, world war ii intervenes. it's not completed until the 1950s. and i like to talk about the taconic parkway as an example of the intraurban parkway because
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it does a couple of things. first, it connects to the parkway system. second, it begins to pioneer new changes to parkway design to make them faster, safer, more convenient. faster, safer and more convenient. brings us toward the post war era. the taconic parkway crosses through the mountainous east coast, if you will, of new york. so you could see the grading of this road was pretty difficult in some places. one of the ways they handled the grading was to separate the two drive lanes, north and southbound traffic lanes. they have very, very large median structures here. the two alignments of the
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roadway were completely independent, so they are on a completely different alignment, so the side of the road weight is one thing, the other side of the roadway does something completely different. sort of like threading to roads in a wide right of way. pocket the divided roadways are reflected in the bridge designs, which all have to arches in the center, a center support situated within the median. of course these are the places where the two roadways come together, because you have a gigantic -- you don't want really gigantic bridges, right? and here you can see recent developments where the scenic quality of the roadway is largely lost. a series of larger bridges, which cross rivers, and blasted in some places, actually through rocky terrain. they came in with dynamite,
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exploded the road and the situate the roadside, next to the road, because of the dramatic terrain, sheet flow was no longer possible in terms of the design, so they designed a new drainage system for this roadway as well. so you could see catch basins and culverts, i love the culverts still in camouflage mode. nobody is actually going to see this on the roadside, so it's out fall from the water flows into here, and it flows out but we're still cladding it. and beautiful stone masonry. so the detail, the construction detail on this is interesting. another strategy, and contrast to the taconic parkway, the curve is no amount double curb, which allows disabled vehicles to jump over the curve and get on to the grassy road shoulder. so we're thinking about how to
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manage traffic when somebody breaks down. how do you get people out. you have a mount-able curb, which allows it, and here is a wonderful view of the taconic parkway, where we can start to see that engineering and the beauty of engineering and that sort of lovely curvature. two independent roadway alignments separating here, and the white or these are, it reduces headlight glare. so they're not shining into your eyes which was more of a problem when the roads are closer together and we can start to see limited access becoming easier, so these access points begin to get wider and wider to allow you to accelerate on to the traffic, which is moving at 60 miles an hour. so these new smoother
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geometry's begin to evolve here. what is the nature of that geometry everybody, we're going to go into math world for a moment. after that 1930 the parkway like that the conduct part way begin to experience these changes that we talk about, faster speeds, why did you write have ways, longer distances and flat curves. the other things that they changed our geometry for. the geometry's of road design. we've got two diagrams here from christopher tenured, matt main america, chaos or control. a great book published in the sixties or seventies about changing aesthetics in american environments. they have a great section on highway design. so if you've laid out a road or a trail and greeting class, one of the things you know is that
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you have to go back here geometry, and we talk about putting a straight line down, so we've got a river. these are hatch worse. we haven't seen hatch wars since day one. creating straight lines which determines where you want to go. and you connect them with the arc's. then there is the point of attention, see where the curve meets the tangent, right? that's how park waves were laid out. in the 1930s. just like roads, right? you have rose and connect them up. as you go faster and faster the, one of the things which begins -- people begin to realize that this point of tendency creates a little bit of difficulty in driving so new ideas promoted in the 19 thirties to the 19 fifties, which are spiral curves. instead of having a straight
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line with attention, you can actually just connect the two spirals by themselves. the geometry, there's no longer this kind of straight line. this is an interesting aesthetic. the difference from tonight's book, where here we have radioed geometry design. in the road, and here we have a spiral curb where the tangent gives you this little kink in the road where you are meeting the curve at the tension flying. and the spiral curb creates this incredibly smooth line within the landscape, so it has to benefits, one is it creates the smooth driving curve, easier to drive. and the others visually removes these funny little kinks, which
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should begin to perceive as you're going faster and faster. you actually start to see this. if you want to experience this, think about a on ramp, an intersection down highway 30. one of my favorite spaces to experience this. interstate 35. you're driving on the on ramp and it's got that nice whooping curve. you kind of make that little jog in your steering wheel. you are actually experiencing a spiral curve there. because you're radius is not consistent. , your spiral radius changes. so we begin to pioneer new geometry to change, to accommodate the vehicle and accommodate new speeds. just stuff for a moment, and kind of think about this. we've talked about the development of new type-ology's. landscape type-ology's. we go from the country
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partridge to the public park. we go from the parkway, connecting prospect park, new in brooklyn to a park designed for rapid transit. we see yuck architecture creating new kinds of landscapes we had not previously existed. okay. so look mama, no kinks. a couple of other aspects about urban and regional park ways, as we design things like the taconic law, and the yuck taconic has large parks associated with it. it was used for tourism, they got people from new york to the catskills, it's still cut through a lot of rural areas. but part of the reason for
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creating the taconic parkway was to connect the commercial stronghold of new york city to the capital, albany, so people could have this convenient transportation, particularly in the 1930s, prior to common air traffic. so urban and regional park ways increasingly become used for commuting traffic, and initially, the -- their interest states. they're done by state highway commissions. not the parkway commission, but a state highway commission. other ones, we talked about baltimore, washington, if anyone's been in new jersey, the garden state parkway is another great example of an interest state parkway system. regionally and locally lilac way in minnesota, anyone from minnesota here? otherwise known as highway 100.
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it was lilac way and it's not one of the major community routes between the cities. and one of your assignments online in your reading, your syllabus there is a link to the twin cities public television, pbs video on lilac way. that is a unassigned video. do not forget to watch that. that talks about ccc construction, w p ac, w a, depression airy construction of highway 100. any questions so far? we are rolling through this rapidly today. second kind of parkway, nps scenic park waves. and these roads were existing and contrast to the urban and regional parkway's.
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and they are quite different, because they were almost exclusively built for recreational and scenic preservation and focus. they had much less emphasis on regional traffic patterns and shaping of urban growth patterns. in their focus, they tended to be on the experience of the drive and the experience of the driving through a beautiful scenic area in an automobile. a couple of differences they have generally larger rights of way, large rates of way. usually situated within parks to provide for maximum preservation of scenery. they built on traditions, not only of park design and urban areas, but part design in national parks, so if we see
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this image here, this is going to the son rode in glacier national park. other roads like paradise road, mount or near, the park service had a tradition of providing access to scenic and difficult terrain. when automobiles become increasingly important. they help on the bandwagon and begin to design roads, which are in some cases interests but an extreme cases, begin to link different states. design speeds are slower. on and p.s. park ways, because you are touring. you are not getting somewhere are looking at the scenery. meant to also enhanced the recreational nature of traveling. strong attention to coordinated signage and interpretive signage, in part because the
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park service traditions and interpreting landscapes, and they are extremely large and long, and because of this they take a long time to construct. they focus on scenic preservation and cultural preservation. a few key examples, one of the earliest was mount vernon memorial parkway, i don't believe initially was built by the national park service, although it's now managed by the national park service, but again it was a parkway, a scenic and cultural preservation parkway, meant to take visitors from washington, d.c. to our first presidents home. the colonial parkway. the blue ridge parkway and the natchez trace. a couple of other ones, which i would put into this category, which are not necessarily and p.s. park ways is the great
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river road, which is up the coast of minnesota. runs to the coast of the entire mississippi of minnesota to the gulf of mexico, which was actually a failed park service project to create a park way on both sides of the mississippi river. the new columbia river highway in oregon is another example on the west coast. which is a state road. we are going to look at two landscapes here. the first is colonial parkway. the second is the blue ridge. some of you have been on it. colonial parkway is one of the earliest national park ways. it was designed to connect jamestown. site of the first landing, virginia colony. pocahontas.
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and, yorktown which was the site of the surrender of the revolution, and in the 1930s a national park service said wow, we should be getting into the historical part of this and begin to build parks in the east coast. to get people between these two historic sites, they decided to create a park way and you can see the right of way laid out here and in the middle was williamsburg, which at the time was being constructed by the rockefeller family. as a reconstruction of the colonial capital, and so colonial parkway was designed to connect these two historic sites and also to connect williamsburg. the design is a pretty interesting design, and it's encompassed both scenic and historic preservation and new
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ideas about road technologies. nps does underscore kind of at the forefront. on the one hand, the access bridges, the great crossing elimination structures, were designed using colonial break. they actually created a series of brickyards in virginia, so this was during the 1930s, where they were create brick in the traditional colonial process so each break was handmade so not machine manufacture with that kind of hand craftsmanship we talked about with park design, rustic park design, with the craftsmanship. so as you would drive down the parkway, we would see this colonial style, though nobody built a colonial style bridge like that for the automobile in the 1700s. but we have that sort of material characteristic. the road bed was designed in concrete, and exposed aggregate,
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so it has a kind of pebble texture and a yellow color to kind of mimic a historic road, perhaps, a historic gravel road. though again it was designed for car speeds of around between 30 and 50 miles per hour depending on the section. in contrast, a series of bridges were designed to cross over the title estuaries, which flood from the james river, and these were designed in modern concrete so that when you looked down the roadways, we will see colonial style bridges, but if you look at your car window as you were driving along the road, you would see modern concrete style bridges. here's a view of one of those bridges. we can see this kind of streamlined modern forms we talked last week about modern architecture, and the idea of the machine. these bridges were pared down,
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simple, to reflect the machine h, and if we think about the curves on this lovely chevy and the curves here, we sort of think about those two designs being similar, perhaps. in addition, the creeks were all demarcated, significant historic sites were demarcated with interpretive signage as well. so very much this experience of driving through the wouldn't of plans along the rivers, always across short tidal marshes and, a beautiful drive between these two historic sites. on a much larger scale was the blue ridge parkway. the blue ridge parkway was conceptualized as a way to connect shenandoah and great smoky mountains national parks and travels across north carolina and tennessee.
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it's 469 miles long. it was built through the 1930s and finally finished in the 19 seventies. the designer, the landscape design involved in addition to a whole series of architects and engineers, someone who is generally given credit for much of the design is stanley abbott, a well-known landscape architect at the park service. he had begun his work in the 1930s on the west chester parkway county system. and during the protests depression moved into the national park service as a career. and he did much of the design work. the blue ridge parkway in addition to its great length is known for some of its heroic engineering. one of the major elements is a giant viaduct which crosses a particularly steep area of
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mountainous terrain and we see this beautiful road winding through the steep slopes of appalachia. the blue ridge mountains. much of it was built during the depression. these kind of hand made was reflected in national park service rustic architecture and naturalistic landscape design. plantings were planted to heal road sites cars, great care was taken in designing views and view sheds. the road was known also for its cultural resource preservation. there was a desire, along the roadside, to try to capture some of the crafts and farming practices in open fields agricultural aspects of the landscape. the project was also notable
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for its attempt at public relations, okay? so cutting across 500 miles, gaining property, you know, buying property from individual farmers proved to be rather difficult, right? and in many of these communities people did not want to interact with the g-men was a man from the government, right? so one of the things that they ended up doing is a pioneered the use of the conservation easement, where they couldn't purchase land on either way, why didn't that right of way, they would purchase and easement to the land that would allow them to preserve the view shed. today this is a practice widely known for protection of things like wetlands, natural areas, as well as view sheds. at the time it was one of the
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revolutionary practices created by the blue ridge parkway. norman newton describes this completely in his text. okay. so, parkway's. blue ridge parkway finished in 1970, it is one of the last major parkway's constructed by the national park service. natchez trace in mississippi lingers on, also 500 mile road, along a former indian trail, also extensive. but by the 19 seventies, people weren't building park wait anymore, right? and we said that in the 1930s where the heyday of the parkway, and indeed, bridge parkway begun in the thirties, finished in the 19 seventies, right? this long road. why why does it take so long? why do parkway's fall off after the 1930s? for a couple of reasons.
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after world war ii, there is an increasing emphasis in the country on transportation as people begin to use roads just for scenic travel and more for getting from point a to point b, people's priorities in roadway design changed. in the 19 forties and fifties, there was a engineering movement away from the parkway to something called the complete highway, and i love the phrase on the tagline for the complete highway movement which was, safety, utility, economy and beauty, all parts of harmony. okay? which sounds really great but except for the fact that there's three quarters of this pragmatic function and one quarter is devoted to beauty,
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right? so the idea of anesthetic experience of roadside driving really begins to fall off on the more rapid face of the post world war ii era. and engineering begins to become the name of the game for roadway design, right? and we're concerned with traffic speech, with safety. all of those trees in the road side? those are fixed hazardous objects! right? that's not a tree, that's a fixed hazardous object? when you run into a fixed hazardous object, you are likely to die, right? so if we can choose between a beautiful tree and a dead person, we are going to take out the tree and not have a dead person, right? okay? so we begin to move toward this idea also promoted by architects, where form follows
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function. if the roadway follows its function, you get from point a to point b, it will by nature be beautiful. right? okay? so that's how we end up with the word parkway moving to freeway through, through way, expressway. so we can see that change in the way we talk about roads, right? freeway, through a. it's about speed. so roads get increasingly flatter and increasingly longer and at the same time in the post world war ii area euro under the eisenhower administration, people begin to say, you know what? we do need better roads, we need roads that we can connect our cities with in case of moments of great national emergency and thus the federal aid highway act, also known as
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the national inter state and defense high we act, a coach in the 19 fifties, and we have the first project in the united states, and interstate 94 with a view shared of that road being opened. and here is what the freeway, three-way, expressway looks like in contrast to parkway what. is it? it's the curves begin to be so flat as to be nonexistent. they become increasingly straight, right? because straight is better. you know begin to design's curves just to keep it interesting enough to make sure you don't fall asleep on the roadway when you're driving back home after a long week at school, right? so you are commuting back on highway 80 or highway 35.
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we have curves primarily to manage not if you cheat, but a curve to manage you as a driver as waking up. we eliminate the planting along the roadside, right? because it's going to collect snow, it's going to hide view sheds. in some places, particularly in cities, this is highway 94 in st. paul, between minneapolis st. paul is down here, minneapolis is over here. we eliminate the planting. we sink the road so that crossed traffic can conveniently move over. bridges are no longer archways constructed for aesthetic experience, but rather to be as convenient as possible, right? and so we have a very different change in our roadway design. and social attitudes are
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changed as well, right? you think about the bronx river parkway, and that sort of experience of joy and excitement and driving a car for the first time as a recreational activity, i mean, how many of us think about driving a car as a rave creation all activity anymore? we don't, right? it's not one. i think my father was the last person i knew who liked to go for a sunday drive, right? pile the kids in the car and torture us, right? it was not -- car trips were not recreational for me. so dry things no longer a gee whiz activity. so for me, as i try i teach you, as a practical landscape optic teaching people some of whom are going to be practicing landscape architects, i think the lesson here is that with the loss of aesthetic goals for the roadway comes a loss of the role for the landscape architect. it's not something that our
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profession does a lot of anymore. engineers are the profession of choice, the profession of function, and they are not too concerned about the aesthetic experiential concern, right? i think this is a loss. many people spent hours and hours of their lives on freeways and commuting, right? and we can sort of think about that bubble in the car that we are sitting in, or we can think about the nature of the roadside along it. and i think there's a lost opportunity here for taking back these environments, and thinking about them as possibly an environment that's not a sterile environment where your in your bubble, but perhaps it can change the way that you think about driving that road as a designer, and as a driver.
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and what if, if we took just a tiny little bit more, right? maybe it's not three to one, safety, economy, utility and beauty, but what if we start to think about changing these environments so that they, to too, could be productive and green. what if they generated solar energy? would if they became places for prairies which have habitats -- how could we as professionals begin to change this environment as architectural professionals. we spent a lot of time into something that is more productive into the environment and beneficial to the human beings who moves through them. looking back to the heyday of the parkway, it is one way to look up at that. . now we are down five minutes
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early. you just got five minutes of your life back. [applause] malinowski of
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new jersey. january 6th views from the house next week each night at 8:00 eastern on c-span. so a lot in the beginning there was energy. without source,


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