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Thread: Use of pedestrian overpasses

  1. #1
    Jul 2002

    Use of pedestrian overpasses

    I was wondering if there were any studies done on the role that pedestrian over/ underpasses of railways play. Has someone surveyed people to find out what role they play in an urban setting? For example, how many own cars and would have otherwise driven? How many do not own cars and would have stayed home, or bought their food from a more expensive store if they couldn't cross the tracks. Who would have travelled much farther if not for the crossing. Who is using the crossing to walk the dog, recreation, access transit. In other words what role do they pay in our general mobility?

    Other sub-themes. Most people prefer at-grade crossings. Is it more dangerous to illegally cross a 5 x a day rail track at-grade or a 100 car a minute road at-grade? Railroads don't want pedestrian crossings or car crossings, to what extent should they be allowed to tell the city not to build a crossing.

    Why important?
    The city of Toronto has been developing high density condos, freehold towns and retail in former industrial lands near the railways. CN and CP are building 10-12 foot sound proofing walls between many of the developments and the tracks. At-grade road crossings are being eliminated as well as illegal pedestrian crossings. The old fences were torn and cut by users no matter how many times the railways replaced them, so that pedestrians could cross. The new walls can not be cut or bypassed..
    The city has not built new pedestrian overpasses, (not replacements), in decades. It does not even have standards to assess when they are needed. For example threshold potential pedestrian/ cycle counts.

    Car travel is at an advantage when travel distances become longer, while bike and pedestrian travel becomes less practical. I'm looking to find some data on the subject which can shed some light on these legal and illegal movements. Also evidence of any large city which has installed legal at-grade pedestrian/ bike crossings across active railways (not connected with roadways). Lastly, comparisons of the dangers of railway and street crossings for pedestrians (not including suicides).

  2. #2
    Cyburbian Plus
    Jun 2003
    Check out some of the links mentioned in this past thread -
    Overpass vs. underpass pedestrian psychology

  3. #3
    Cyburbian mallen's avatar
    Feb 2003
    Down South
    In my community we are in the middle of a pedestrian "underpass" below an active railroad. We are fortunate that the existing grade is allowing us to build it without having to dig down too far. So it will not be a tunnel per se. It will be more similar to bridging the railroad.

    It will be a 12 foot wide pedestrian underpass. It is expected to cost about $1 million (U.S.) when complete.

    We have not gone out for bid yet. It will be early next year.

  4. #4
    Aug 2005
    Sydney, New South Wales
    don't forget flooding can take out an underpass in heavy rain

  5. #5
    Aug 2006
    Rosny F 93110
    The T2 streetcar of the RATP (Paris) is a former railway electrified by third rail, converted to tram with overhead electrification. There was three level-crossing for pedestrians and car. It was proposed to replace them with overhead or underground passage, local people want and obtain to keep the level crossing, but only two.

    Le tramway T2 de la RATP (Paris), électrifié par caténaire, est la conversion d'une ancienne ligne de chemin de fer électrifiées par troisième rail. Il était proposé de remplacer trois passages à niveau par des passages en dessus ou en dessous pour les voitures et les piétons. Les populations concernées demandérent et obtinrent le maintien des passages à niveau, mais il n'y en a plus que deux.

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