Posts tagged with "Highway Caps":

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Santa Monica looks to cap Interstate 10 in new downtown plan

Local planning politics on Los Angeles's Westside is in a sad state of affairs. There, a municipally-led push to complete city streets by adding bicycle infrastructure and other pedestrian improvements has been met with fierce opposition from local drivers. Recent efforts in L.A’s Mar Vista neighborhood, for example, grew so toxic that community members launched a now-stalled recall bid to remove Mike Bonin—the local council person who champions the so-called “road diets” as well as the city’s Vision Zero plan those diets support—from office. The embarrassing spectacle has thrown into question the commitment L.A. residents have not only toward prioritizing the City’s plan for eliminating all traffic deaths by 2025, but also their reluctance to take personal responsibility for reducing transportation-related carbon emissions across the region. Nevertheless, there might be hope yet. That hope comes in the form of a new downtown plan taking root just a few blocks from Mar Vista, in the City of Santa Monica. The beachside municipality recently approved its new Downtown Community Plan (DCP), a document that looks to convert downtown Santa Monica into a “complete community” offering dense urban housing, multi-modal transportation options, and a healthy sprinkling of public open and green spaces. The city’s planning agency has taken a variety of steps to promote this vision by increasing maximum Floor-Area-Ratios for sites that include housing development in certain zones, eliminating parking minimums for some types of new construction, and pushing to reconfigure downtown streets in the image of universal transport. Through this new plan, the municipality is working to expand the functionality of its sidewalks and streets by increasing their capacity to support bicycle infrastructure, demarcating specific loading zones for buses and ride sharing services, and recognizing key “signature sidewalk” areas that will strategically enhance street life. The plan indicates that Santa Monica city officials are keenly aware that the future of the L.A. region will depend just as much on what happens in the spaces between buildings as it will on the buildings themselves. Critically, the plan also calls for capping the western terminus of Interstate 10 with a new park, a move that would fully transform the southern edge of the city into a civic and commercial node while also providing the city with an opportunity to rework surface streets to better accommodate the new focus on multi-modal transport. The section of I-10 in question sits in a 20-feet-below-grade channel spanning roughly 7,000 feet across what was once the city’s civic core; the stretch of highway is bounded on one side by Santa Monica City Hall and Ken Genser Square and on the other by the James Corner Field Operations–designed Tongva Park. Santa Monica Lookout reports that the DCP’s Gateway Master Plan element—the document spelling out just how the highway-adjacent areas are to be redesigned—will go up for consideration by the city’s Department of Planning and Community Development sometime this spring. The department recently issued a report that includes support for the freeway cap as part of several long-term changes for the city. The report describes the freeway park’s ability to offer a “unique opportunity for strengthening connections” within the city as a principal reason for its construction. Aside from proposing a specific, multi-modal plan for reconnecting the city’s street grid, the Gateway Master Plan will envision a method for reworking and connecting several key sites surrounding the future park, including an adjacent Sears department store complex, the Santa Monica Civic Center, and nearby Expo Line and Big Blue Bus stations. Although calls for the freeway cap park in Santa Monica date back to the 1980s, recent years have seen a bevy of proposals for similar installations across the Los Angeles region, including over Interstate 110 in Downtown Los Angeles and over U.S. Route 101 in Hollywood. Another proposal is still in the works to cap another portion of U.S. Route 101 with an overpass that would allow local mountain lions and other fauna to traverse the highway safely. Though Santa Monica’s freeway cap is still in the early stages of approval, the municipality expects to implement the initial phases of the Gateway Master Plan by 2021. An official timeline for the freeway cap park has not been released.
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Atlanta’s highway-capping park moves forward but seeks new partners and funding

An ambitious plan to build a park over a highway in Atlanta’s Buckhead neighborhood is moving forward after the Buckhead business district voted to create a nonprofit organization that will manage future development, according to the Atlanta Journal Constitution.

The nine-acre linear park—proposed last year and planned for a section of Georgia 400—would be designed by the two New York–based firms ROGERS PARTNERS Architects + Urban Designers and Nelson Byrd Woltz Landscape Architects. The Buckhead Community Improvement District (CID), a public-private organization that invests taxes from commercial property owners within the district into the public realm, released today an updated timeline for the project. The next five months will be dedicated toward the creation of the nonprofit, as well as the planning and design of the park. The CID has also dedicated up to $262,500 in order to sustain its contract with the design team through 2017.  

“The goal would be for us to truly hand this off to the new entity where they could count on some funding from the CID to help stand them up and help attracting additional partners,” Buckhead CID Executive Director Jim Durrett said to AJC.

Buckhead Park Over GA400, the park’s current tentative name, is a push from the city to encourage walkable environments and green spaces. The park is located at the confluence of Georgia 400, Peachtree Road, the MARTA red line, and the Path400 Greenway Trail. 

The current design is an open scheme with various public spaces—a Commons, a Plaza, and the Gardens—that aim to create diverse experiences through the park. It will also be built over a MARTA station (acting as a roof, almost) and will be connected to various pedestrian paths. Public engagement is expected to play a role during the design phase, as well as in the formal naming of the park.

The approval was a narrow vote, 4-3, with dissenters citing a lack of key details—including funding sources. The estimated cost of the project is as high as $245 million, with Buckhead CID officials saying they expect funding to come through both public and private sources, including MARTA when the Buckhead MARTA station goes through a redesign.

With this approval to move forward, the Buckhead CID is hopeful that pre-construction work will begin in January 2018, groundbreaking will happen by 2020, and a fully operational park will open by 2023, according to AJC. 

Explore the park in 3D here.
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Seattle Park Proposal to Cap I-5 Unveiled

Take note. The Seattle waterfront plan is getting a lot of competition. Last month, we saw an opposing proposal to the James Corner Field Operations plan rejected by city council and put on the ballot for next summer. The project—Initiative 123—calls for reinforcing a portion of the Alaska Way Viaduct that runs north-south along the western edge of Seattle as well as building a new section. These two pieces would create a mile-long, High Line–style park. Now a Seattle- and Idaho-based firm, Patano Studio Architecture, is proposing an $800 million project to the east as part of a larger conceptual plan to expand the Washington State Convention Center. The project would cap Interstate 5—a highway that runs through multiple neighborhoods such as downtown Seattle, South Lake Union, and Capitol Hill—and build a park on top. The architects describe the highway built in 1962 as a "savage scar of roadway" that forever divided the city. Their project would cap a 2 mile long section of the the highway running from Lakeview in the north, south to downtown. The resulting 45 acre park would feature plants, trails, and community spaces, and be adjacent to affordable housing. Toward the downtown end, the park would run over a proposed 20,000 seat NBA / NHL arena that would also double as additional customizable convention space for the Convention Center. The arena would be an alternative to Chris Hansen's proposed NBA / NHL arena in SoDo. The concept, if accepted, could take about 5 years to build. "In our mind, the old guard way of thinking and planning the city is one project at a time," Christopher Patano told the Seattle P-I. "I think what we're finding is this one-piece-at-a-time approach is not producing a cohesive result. It's not producing a city that functions the way the people of Seattle want it to function."
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Atlanta may be getting a nine-acre highway capping park

Atlanta, Georgia's Buckhead Community Improvement District is forging ahead with a proposal to cap the GA 400 highway with a nine-acre park that could potentially double or triple the value of surrounding neighborhoods. Spanning one third of a mile, the floating park will connect Lenox and Peachtree roads, two arterial roadways, and cap the highway and MARTA line while providing access to the Buckhead Station. Currently in the feasibility stage, the park is being designed by local firm GreenRock Partnership and global engineering giant Jacobs. If approved, the public green space will connect via crossover ramp with the PATH 400, a pedestrian and biker-friendly overpass between Old Ivy Road and Lenox Road. The addition will continue the trail through the heart of Buckhead’s commercial district and bring it closer to Lenox Square. Renderings show a park with plentiful gathering areas, restaurants, new access to MARTA Station, and even a dog park. There will also be an active green plaza at the MARTA Rail Station’s main entrance, while the MARTA bridge portal will have a dedicated food truck area. For the northernmost tip of the park, David Allman, CID Chairman, imparted visions of a small-stage performance area large enough to accommodate 4,000-7,000 people and a public art installation. Initial cost projections have totaled around $200 million, but the CID Board is committed to the project’s completion. “It’s a big, audacious project,” Allman told Buckhead View. “It could also be a dramatic game changer. It is daunting because of its size but it can turn out extraordinarily well.” Allman cites a similarly large-scale, highway-superimposing project in Dallas, the Klyde Warren Park over an interstate highway. Construction cost $110 million but the park has since attracted two million visitors in two years and increased the value of surrounding office spaces threefold. The CID bills its public-private project as “an effort to transform an unattractive, barren bridge over the GA 400 into something that reflects Buckhead’s spirit.” The initiative coincides with a spate of high-rise residential developments, collectively bringing an influx of 700-plus units. On an adjacent site, high-rise offices are also proliferating, including the Three Alliance Center and a proposed office at Tower Place.
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Tired of the noisy Autobahn, Hamburg to kick off major highway-capping project

The city of Hamburg is kicking off a massive effort to bury and cap two miles of a highway that cuts right through town. Fast Company reported that the $800 million project will create 60 new acres of green space which include “open meadows, woods, bike paths, community gardens, and tree-lined squares.” Capping the highway will also create space for about 2000 new homes, according to city officials. While everyone likes new green space, this massive project is actually a means to solve a pretty common urban problem: noise. Since putting up walls around the increasingly crowded highway wouldn't do the trick, the city opted for the capping option. This then has the added benefit of creating new usable space. But it's not all urbanist dream world over in Hamburg. As Fast Company noted, the capping project also means widening the highway - and as you probably know, widening highways pretty much always makes traffic worse. As Hamburg gets to work on this project, Montreal is starting a highway project all its own. The Canadian city isn't burying one of its highways, but knocking it down to create a multi-modal boulevard. It is an ambitious plan with an ambitious budget and timeline; the city says it can have the project done in 2017 at the cost $141.6 million. The Hamburg project is expected to wrap up in 2022.
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Portland competition asks designers to cap an urban interstate with an “urban living room”

Los Angeles isn't the only city exploring freeway caps. In effort to bring more green space to the west side of the City of Roses, the Portland chapter of the American Institute of Architects is hosting a competition, STITCH. They are calling designers to submit their ideas for capping a portion of I-405 between downtown and the city's Goose Hollow neighborhood. "The opportunity to reclaim land that was consumed by the highway system provides a unique opportunity to address the need for more urban open space, but also to restitch two neighborhoods together” said AIA Portland in the competition brief. The proposed site is one city block, 200 feet by 200 feet. The program is open, although AIA Portland recommends including a variety of public space programs and accommodating for multi-modal transportation access. Read more at Portland Architecture. Submissions are due by April 28th, and the winning design will be announced on May 16th.
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Rockefeller University Proposes New Buildings, Platform Over FDR Drive

In an effort to expand its facilities without depriving residents of a view of the East River, Rockefeller University is proposing a series of changes to its Upper East Side campus. Founded by John D. Rockefeller in 1901 to promote medical research, the school plans to construct three new buildings. As the university has done in the past, two of those buildings, a one-story conference center and a two-story research building boasting a green roof and rooftop pavilions, would be constructed atop a platform over FDR Drive. Extending approximately four blocks from East 64th Street to East 68th Street, the new platform would join two other Rockefeller buildings straddling the highway, stretching from 62nd Street to 64th Street. The third new building, an athletic center for students, would replace a faculty parking lot in the northwest corner of campus. Civitas, an advocacy group focusing on development in the Upper East Side has some concerns that the buildings, in addition to other proposed medical facilities, could affect parks along the East River. Speaking with a reporter from Crain’s, Executive Director Hunter Armstrong said he’s particularly concerned about the East River Esplanade. “We’re trying to rescue the esplanade,” Armstrong said, “so we have to be careful of the impacts of these cantilevers on our park.” As the university still requires approval for the project, neither a completion date or price estimate have been determined, though school officials have chosen architect Rafael Viñoly to head the project.  
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Hollywood Freeway Park Gains Allies in High Places

LA’s proposed 44-acre Hollywood Central Park, which would be set atop the capped 101 Freeway between Santa Monica and Hollywood boulevards, made new friends in Washington last week, according to the LA Daily News. U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood met with local congressman Adam Schiff and Friends of the Hollywood Central Park (FHCP), a non-profit formed in 2008 to raise funds for the park. LaHood expressed interest in the project, and provided insights on its development and possible benefits. He also offered to have members of his staff contribute to its planning process. As noted in the FHCP website, the park would be built on a deck constructed over the below grade portion of the freeway in that area, allowing easy park access from adjacent streets. FHCP stated that the “44-acre street level urban park allows us to rethink and reimagine our physical environment," adding that the final design would incorporate ideas developed by students at the USC School of Architecture's Master Landscape Studio. AECOM and The Olin Studio have also completed studies for the project. Park features would include “an amphitheater, walking trails, a dog park, a children’s playground, water features, recreational facilities and much more.” The AECOM feasibility study estimates the cost of building the park at $949 million; a more recent cost estimate by Psomas Engineering puts the total development cost closer to $1.15 billion. It's among several freeway cap parks proposed in the city. While $2 million in funding for the park’s EIR was approved by the CRA/LA Board in December 2011, the recent banishment of California's redevelopment agencies puts the funding in question. FHCP board members are working to resolve the issue and say they are moving forward with development. Once the EIR is completed, the feasibility report estimates that the park would take four years to complete.
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The Newest LA Award Show

The Urban Land Institute LA’s inaugural LARC (Los Angeles Real Creativity) Awards was not your average design show. Mistress of ceremonies Frances Anderton, the host of KCRW’s “Design and Architecture," set a light tone that discouraged back slapping and the stodgy speeches that often accompany such congratulatory musings.  As dinner was served by Wolfgang Puck, guests seated at tables in the lobby of Wayne Ratkovich’s recently renovated William Pereira building at 5900 Wilshire were treated to a crash course in some of LA’s most innovative projects.  And the winners were: In the Design Category, recognizing projects still in the conceptual stage, the Hollywood Cap Park took the award (which, by the way, was a Tiffany Frank Gehry designed paper weight).  Conceived 25 years ago and recently revived, a 44-acre park would “cap” the 101 Freeway from Bronson Avenue to Santa Monica Boulevard. The Place Award, honoring completed buildings that have “world-changing” potential, went to the Academy of Entertainment Technology, the media campus of Santa Monica College and home to KCRW which is being designed by Clive Wilkinson Architects. YOLA – Los Angeles Philharmonic/Gustavo Dudamel won the Enterprise award in the community or social program category for its work building youth orchestras in undeserved communities. And the Big Idea award recognizing a “game-changer” went to the Imagine Mars Project initiated by JPL/NASA, which combines science, engineering and art to help children learn how to create design solutions by imagining what kind of community they would build on Mars. HONORABLE MENTIONS Design: Flower Street Bioreactor East Cahuenga Corridor Alley Place: Bert Green Fine Art for the Downtown L.A. Art Walk Maltman Bungalows New Carver Apartments (Michael Maltzman Architecture) Enterprise The Community of Mar Vista Wilson Meany Sullivan, LLP for Hollywood Park Tomorrow Idea Thinking Out of the Big Box --STACIE STUKIN