Posts tagged with "Infrastructure":

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Groups Call for People-Friendly Lake Shore Drive Overhaul in Chicago

Lake Shore Drive could look a lot different if a local design alliance gets its way. The "Our Lakefront" plan, commissioned by 15 different organizations including the Active Transportation Alliance, the Alliance for the Great Lakes, the Center for Neighborhood Technology, and the Chicago Architecture Foundation, would reduce the speed limit on the north branch of Lake Shore Drive from 40 to 35 miles per hour; carve out lanes for bicycles and either bus rapid transit or rail; and replace parking spaces with greenery. Connectivity is a hallmark of the concept. The plan calls for increased lakefront access for both vehicles and pedestrians, perhaps through programmed parks and plazas “serving as access points across Lake Shore Drive and as iconic gateways between the city and the lakefront.” Unlike the southern segment of Lake Shore Drive, which was rebuilt about 10 years ago, this seven-mile stretch of highway is between of 60 and 80 years old. The “Our Lakefront” team says as long as Illinois Department of Transportation officials are considering restoring infrastructure along the road, including several ailing bridges, they may as well as look at restoring the iconic Drive’s original design. “Redefine the Drive,” as they put it. From the Sun-Times:

Lake Shore Drive was originally designed as “a boulevard. It was a pleasure drive early on,’’ said Lee Crandell of the Active Transportation Alliance, among the 15 groups that helped to write the “Our Lakefront” plan.

“It’s slowly turned into a freeway,’’ Crandell said. “We want it to feel like a boulevard.’’

Read the full conceptual plan here. Three public hearings are scheduled this week:
  • Aug. 6, 6 - 8 p.m., Gill Park, 825 W. Sheridan Road, 3rd Floor
  • Aug. 7, 6 - 8 p.m., Truman College, 1145 W. Wilson Avenue, Atrium
  • Aug. 8, 6 - 8 p.m., Peggy Notebaert Nature Museum, 2430 N. Cannon Drive, South Gallery
After the meetings, a formal design team will convene to hash out details. If anything is built, it won’t be for years. Daniel Burnham’s vision for Chicago is often evoked here to lend credibility for urban planning proposals. Amid both shrinking budgets and an urban reawakening, landscape and infrastructure projects have become increasingly common and closely watched. UPDATE Aug. 7: This story originally said the plan considered high-speed rail. That was not accurate. From Lee Crandell, director of campaigns for Active Transportation Alliance:

The platform calls for separating transit from car traffic with bus-only lanes and other public transit enhancements, such as Bus Rapid Transit. BRT vehicles are often designed to look similar to light rail vehicles (this is why BRT is sometimes referred to as light rail with rubber wheels), and the drawing does intentionally leave it open to interpretation whether LSD could include something like BRT or light rail.

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HUD Secretary Donovan Announces Kickoff of “Rebuild by Design” Competition

Resiliency is a word that has become lodged in the vocabulary of nearly every lawmaker since Hurricane Sandy ravaged the east coast last October. And this month, government officials—on a local, state, and federal level—are taking steps to ensure that coastal cities are more resilient and rebuilt to better withstand natural disasters in the future. Yesterday, at a panel discussion on Innovation & Resilience Design in Sandy Rebuilding at NYU, Shaun Donovan, Secretary of the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development and Chair of the Hurricane Sandy Rebuilding Task Force, announced the launch of a new regional design competition, "Rebuild by Design" seeking teams—made up of the top engineers, architects, landscape designers, and other experts—to propose projects that tackle issues such as climate, economic, and infrastructure (and as the press release states, "will actually be built"). These proposals can run the gamut from green infrastructure to residential retrofits. "It is not enough for communities to build back to what they were," said Secretary Donovan during the panel. "Our solutions will have no boundaries." Donovan is collaborating with the Rockefeller Foundation, which will provide $3 million in funding in support of the competition. The competition calls on teams to look at "coastal communities, high-density urban environments, ecological networks, and a fourth category that will include other innovative questions and proposals." Donovan explained that the competition will "unfold in four stages" starting with a call for proposals and the selection of up to 10 teams. Teams will then study the region and submit design proposals. From there, Donovan and his partners will choose a winning project, which will then be implemented. Speaking on the panel today, Seth Pinsky, President of New York City Economic Development Corporation, pointed out that the advantages of this competition are that it endeavors to "pull together inter-disciplinary teams for a common goal" and its savvy "regional approach" that looks at the relationship between each region to provide more thoughtful and effective solutions.
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Chicago Riverwalk gets $99 million loan from feds

Chicago’s plan to extend and revamp its downtown riverwalk got a major shot in the arm from the feds last week. U.S. Dept of Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood announced the federal government will loan the city $99 million under the Transportation Finance Innovation Act, a program geared at transportation projects of “national and regional significance.” Mayor Rahm Emanuel had previously set his sights on just such funding, as well as financial sponsors for ongoing maintenance. The project, which is scheduled to be finished by 2016, hopes to draw more attention to the riverfront. Designs by Sasaki Associates, Alfred Benesch & Co., Ross Barney Architects, and Jacobs/Ryan Associates call for six unique identities across six downtown blocks of the Chicago River, such as The Jetty, The Cove, and The River Theater. Read more about the design in AN's previous report.
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EPA to Give Over Half Billion in Funding to Improve Hurricane Sandy–Ravaged Facilities

Hurricane Sandy caused substantial damage to wastewater and drinking water treatment systems across the tri-state area. Today the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced plans to provide a total of $569 million to New York and New Jersey to make wastewater and drinking water treatment facilities more resilient to withstand the effects of future storms. As Michael Shapiro, EPA Principal Deputy Assistant Administrator, pointed out in a media call, "Sewage treatment plants are on the waterfront so are particularly vulnerable to rising sea levels." The funding will be provided through grants to states that will then be distributed primarily to local communities as low or no interest loans. “Going forward we’re encouraging local governments to submit proposals for green infrastructure and that rely on natural features to prevent flooding,” said EPA Regional Administrator Judith A. Enck in an announcement. The agency also anticipates that this funding will result in 6,000 short-term construction jobs.
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Three Winning Teams Imagine Sustainable Infrastructure for Infill Philadelphia: Soak It Up!

On Friday, three winners of the Infill Philadelphia: Soak It Up! design competition were announced following deliberation by a jury of sustainable stormwater infrastructure industry insiders at Drexel University on Thursday. Created by the Philadelphia Water Department, the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), and the Community Design Collaborative, the competition called for creative and sustainable solutions for Philadelphia’s stormwater management. Architects, landscape architects, engineers, and other professionals formed 28 teams to provide innovative means for urban infrastructure to transform the city. From nine finalists, three winners were selected, each responding to a different urban context (industrial, commercial, and neighborhood) and cashing in on the $10,000 prize. Winner, Neighborhood - Greening the Grid Meeting Green (Pictured at top) Team Members: OLIN, Philadelphia, PA Gilmore & Associates, New Britain, PA International Consultants, Philadelphia, PA MM Partners, Philadelphia, PA Penn Praxis SMP Architects, Philadelphia, PA Winner, Commercial - Retail Retrofit Stormwater reStore Team Members: Urban Engineers, Philadelphia, PA Mathews Nielsen Landscape Architects, New York, NY Spiezle Architectural Group, Trenton, NJ Winner, Industrial - Warehouse Watershed Leveraging Water + Plants in Zero Lot Sites Team Members: Roofmeadow, Philadelphia, PA In Posse - A Subsidiary of AKF, Philadelphia, PA m2 Architecture, Philadelphia, PA Meliora Environmental Design, Phoenixville, PA SED Design, Blue Bell, PA Sere, Spring Mills, PA
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Architect’s Plan Would Add A Bike and Pedestrian Tube to San Diego’s Coronado Bay Bridge

From the top of San Diego's soaring 200-foot-tall Coronado Bay Bridge, architect Lew Dominy says you can see Mexico, but outside of special events when the bridge is closed to automobile traffic, pedestrians and bicyclists who might stop to admire the view are prohibited. Dominy, principal at San Diego-based domusstudio architecture, has a plan to build a tube through the distinctive archways of the Coronado's support piers that would bring multi-modal access to the bridge. Dominy hatched the concept three decades ago while riding his bike across the bridge during a special event. "When you're 200 feet in the air looking at the city, it's just an unbelievable view," Dominy said. At the time he was interning for the the Coronado Bay Bridge's designer Bob Mosher, and developed an interest in the 11,179-foot-long span connecting the cities of San Diego and Coronado. Dominy shelved the proposal, but recently began promoting the concept anew. Over the past six months, he has been meeting with officials from the US Navy, the Cities of San Diego and Coronado, the bridge's owner CalTrans, and others to promote the idea and determine if the project is feasible. Dominy said the response so far has been positive. "With all the agencies and jurisdictions involved, this will take some time to become real," Dominy said in an email. "But the momentum is building, and we have gotten very positive responses everywhere we've been with the project. We think it could be an iconic draw for cyclists and runners and visitors to San Diego." The plan, estimated to cost around $50 million, calls for a steel cylinder to be built inside the 12-foot-diameter pier arches, with structural attachments to the bridge's existing steel box girders. After speaking with engineers who retrofitted the bridge for earthquakes a decade ago, Dominy said "it appears from initial analysis that no extra support is needed" for the new bike tube. The bridge is built with a 4.7 percent grade, meaning the ascent and descent over the two mile length of the bridge fit within existing ADA regulations. Dominy said the tube structure would be open but include railings and other protections to keep people from falling or jumping. He said the design could also include viewing areas at various points with glass floors to heighten the drama of the view. To move the project forward, Dominy hopes to raise funding for a feasibility study, that among other things, will help determine if adding the bike and pedestrian tube will impact clearances of large ships that move underneath the bridge.
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Slideshow> Manhattan’s Second Avenue Subway Pushes North

Manhattan's Second Avenue Subway continues construction on the island's east side. A new construction update from the Metropolitan Transportation Authority details excavation work at what will one day be the line's 86th Street station and the various pieces of heavy machinery that are used in the construction process. Take a look at the photos below and be sure to check out more spectacular tunneling photos from the Seven Line subway expansion and the East Side Access Tunnel for the Long Island Railroad. Click on a thumbnail to launch the slideshow. All images courtesy the MTA / Patrick Cashin.
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Slideshow> New York Subway Construction Creates Enormous Cathedrals of Transit

There's plenty of tunneling going on underneath the streets of Manhattan. On the west side, digging through the city's bedrock has given way to interior station fit-ups for the Dattner-designed 7 line subway stations connecting Times Square to Hudson Yards as early as 2014. To the east, sandhogs continue to carve through solid rock for the $4.5 billion Second Avenue Subway Line while other crews outfit the tunnels with concrete and rebar. Between the two, more massive caverns are being opened up beneath Grand Central Terminal, which turned 100 this month, that will extend the Long Island Railroad to the famed station from Sunnyside, Queens in 2019. The $8.24 billion East Side Access Project will allow commuters to bypass Penn Station and enter Manhattan 12-stories below Grand Central. Now, the MTA has released a dramatic set of photos from inside the 3.5-mile-long tunnel, revealing enormous cathedral-like spaces connected by perfectly cylindrical tunnels. Take a look. Click on a thumbnail to launch the slideshow. All images courtesy Metropolitan Transportation Authority / Patrick Cashin. [Via Gothamist.]
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In Construction> High Line Construction Reaches into Hudson Yards

Hudson Yards broke ground late last year, but the Kohn Pedersen Fox-designed tower that will one day be the headquarters of fashion-label Coach isn't the only construction activity causing a buzz on the 26-acre site on Manhattan's West Side. Wrapping around the south and west sides of the Hudson Yards site, construction crews are busy building out the final segment of the High Line, including sandblasting and refurbishing the steel viaduct, repainting the steel structure's beams, girders, and columns with the High Line's signature "Greenblack" color, and removing and storing existing railroad tracks. Landscape construction is expected to begin later this spring. The Friends of the High Line recently stopped by the construction site with photographer Timothy Schenck to take these photos of work in progress. Be sure to take a look at James Corner Field Operations' design for the final segment here. Photography by Timothy Schenck, used with permission of Friends of the High Line.
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A Boost in Federal Funds Expedite Hurricane Sandy Recovery Efforts

Now that Congress has passed the $51 billion emergency aid package, Mayor Bloomberg is forging ahead with the recovery plans. The City will set aside $1.77 billion in federal funds dedicated to rebuilding homes, businesses, public housing and infrastructure that were damaged by Hurricane Sandy. Bloomberg did, however, warn that it could likely take a few months for the programs “to be approved and implemented.” Since the storm, the city, in conjunction with FEMA, has helped homeowners in New York through its Rapid Repairs Program. In a press conference last week, Bloomberg announced that the city will create a $350 grant program to help owners of single-family homes rebuild residences that bore the brunt of the storm, and another $250 million dedicated to “enhance the resiliency” of multi-family housing units. New York City’s public housing sustained considerable damage during the storm, which resulted in up to $785 million in damage to 257 buildings in 32 housing developments. NYCHA will receive $120 million in aid to repair and prepare buildings for future storms by taking measures such as purchasing permanent emergency generators. The city will also provide $100 million in grants to over 1,000 businesses affected by the storm. Businesses will be able to obtain loans of up to $150,000 and grants as large as $60,000.  An additional $140 million will be spent on efforts to help build infrastructure for utilities and to jumpstart economic activity in the five business zones that are located in vulnerable areas.
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St. Louis’ Last Gasometer is No More

A collection of strange industrial relics in St. Louis has gone the way of many before it, as the city’s last gasometer has fallen. Gasometers are storage devices for natural and coal gas, built during the 20th century but abandoned after 2000 when underground storage became the preferred method. The Laclede Gas Company Pumping Station at 3615 Chevrolet, built around 1920, was the area’s last. Michael R. Allen wrote an epitaph for the bygone piece of infrastructure, providing a remembrance that asks, are industrial relics worth preserving? Basically silos for gas, the structures leave behind industrial skeletons that are sometimes stunning, always intriguinga Flickr group devoted to their documentation has more than 1,000 entries. They are more common in Europe than in the U.S., but Laclede’s St. Louis structures were the most notable on this side of the Atlantic. In Vienna they are celebrated, with four architectural teams currently converting four gasometers for new uses.
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Slideshow> Second Avenue Subway Construction Update

The much-talked-about 7 line subway extension on Manhattan's West Side isn't the only mega-infrastructure project making progress in New York. Construction continues far below the streets of Manhattan's East Side as crews tunnel through bedrock for the Second Avenue Subway line. This week, the MTA released a gallery of photos showing construction progress on stations between 63rd and 73rd streets. The photos show the enormous rock caverns that will one day be subway stations being prepped with liners, rebar, and concrete casing. According to Gothamist, construction progress varies by station, with the 72nd Street station 96 percent complete and the 86th Street station 42 percent done. Click on a thumbnail to launch the slideshow: