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Thread: Using moving walkways to enhance walkability

  1. #1
    Cyburbian
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    Using moving walkways to enhance walkability

    Moving walkways can greatly enhance the pedestrian experience where active and interesting street frontages are impractical, but the mode seems to be relegated to airports, casinos, and the like when other, more novel applications may be in order.

    Where are moving walkways being used outside of the usual venues?

  2. #2
    I would suggest that moving sidewalks are not the same as walkability, at least from the standpoint of physical activity and health.

    Where would you like to see them used?

  3. #3
    Cyburbian DetroitPlanner's avatar
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    Detroit has them in this anti-new urbanist habitrail set-up that takes people off the street and keeps them cocooned in a insulated mall for the rich where they don't have to deal with the lumpen proletariat who must use the street.

    According to the developers... It makes it Downtown Michigan! No I am not kidding.
    http://www.thesomersetcollection.com/about

    Downtown Michigan is the mall that relagated many of the old downtowns to food courts for drunken yuppies.

    Moving sidewalks are an incredible waste of energy. If you can't walk that distance, you either need to get more exercise or become better with time management.
    We hope for better things; it will arise from the ashes - Fr Gabriel Richard 1805

  4. #4
    Cyburbian
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    The proper use of a moving walkway in most instances is to encourage people to walk some place they would otherwise avoid. Developers of retail that depends on foot traffic, for instance, know that gaps can't be very big or shoppers will turn and go another direction.

    Community dividers, like freeways and rail corridors, may be an especially good application for the mode to help facilitate crossings. Actual speeds are not as important as the perception of speed that users get when they walk on this kind of conveyor.
    Last edited by Pragmatic Idealist; 14 Apr 2011 at 9:13 AM.

  5. #5
    Cyburbian
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    Quote Originally posted by DetroitPlanner View post
    Detroit has them in this anti-new urbanist habitrail set-up that takes people off the street and keeps them cocooned in a insulated mall for the rich where they don't have to deal with the lumpen proletariat who must use the street.

    According to the developers... It makes it Downtown Michigan! No I am not kidding.
    http://www.thesomersetcollection.com/about
    Are the moving walkways being used on the pedestrian bridges?

  6. #6
    Cyburbian DetroitPlanner's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by Pragmatic Idealist View post
    Are the moving walkways being used on the pedestrian bridges?
    yes. The ped bridges link the two sides of the mall and have to cross over a large area of parking lots and a six-lane arterial. This could have been avoided, or at least minimized if the mall was laid-out better. They wanted to have separation of the two malls. The one side has Saks, Needless Markups, Tiffany's, Barney's while the other has more low-rent stores like Nordstroms, Macy's and Ambercrombie.
    We hope for better things; it will arise from the ashes - Fr Gabriel Richard 1805

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    Cyburbian ColoGI's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by Pragmatic Idealist View post
    Moving walkways can greatly enhance the pedestrian experience where active and interesting street frontages are impractical, but the mode seems to be relegated to airports, casinos, and the like when other, more novel applications may be in order.

    Where are moving walkways being used outside of the usual venues?
    Not sustainable. Not practical. Only for the rich unless someone has discovered a tree that grows money.

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    Quote Originally posted by ColoGI View post
    Not sustainable. Not practical. Only for the rich unless someone has discovered a tree that grows money.
    And honestly, they seem a bit silly to me. I don't want to be dragged along at one-third of the speed at which I can walk with my own legs. I get that those walkways are useful in airports and things where people with mobility issues need the help, but out on the street, we'd either have to slow everyone down to a crawl (which won't be of interest to anyone), or we'd have to find double the sidewalk space to have a proper sidewalk and what's essentially a conveyor belt for humans.


    Speaking of the Somerset Mall, I genuinely hate that place! It's poorly designed and laid out, and it's genuinely ugly from outside!

  9. #9
    Cyburbian Cardinal's avatar
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    Moving walkways are appropriate in places like an airport, where terminals are themselves long and can be far from each other, where bags are heavy and the walkway provides an oppoetunity to set them down, and where people are often in a hurry to make connecting flights. The same urgency or need does not exist in a normal environment. In addition, the walkways are indoors. I imagine it would be very difficult to maintain a walkway exposed to rain, snow, ice, etc. And as others have said, there is a substantial cost to constructing, operating, and maintaining it.
    Anyone want to adopt a dog?

  10. #10
    Cyburbian
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    I'm reminded of the "Seinfeld" episode in which Jerry and George contemplate the imagined virtues of moving walkways in New York City. Standing on them is certainly pointless, but walking on them can be enjoyable.

    In Las Vegas, casinos will often provide moving walkways that convey people great distances into the establishments but not back to the public sidewalks. I've also seen some large parking areas use the mode to help move people through what are sociofugal places.
    Last edited by Pragmatic Idealist; 14 Apr 2011 at 3:43 PM.

  11. #11
    But moving sidewalks would create barriers on a street. On a well designed street with a healthy economy, there should be not big gaps that need to be bridged.

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    Cyburbian ColoGI's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by Gotta Speakup View post
    But moving sidewalks would create barriers on a street. On a well designed street with a healthy economy, there should be not big gaps that need to be bridged.
    And the cost. And the maintenance. And the energy consumption.

    Really, its a non-starter. Doesn't pass the sniff test. As a cutsie draw for one or two wannabe tourist stops, sure if you want to take the risk with all that money.

    But in a sustainable city or a city with a tight budget? snork

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    Cyburbian Linda_D's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by ColoGI View post
    And the cost. And the maintenance. And the energy consumption.

    Really, its a non-starter. Doesn't pass the sniff test. As a cutsie draw for one or two wannabe tourist stops, sure if you want to take the risk with all that money.

    But in a sustainable city or a city with a tight budget? snork
    Not to mention the insurance costs. These are lawsuits waiting to happen.

    My question is, what happens at corners? Do these things end before every corner and start up again after every corner or are people on the cross-streets supposed to walk across them?

  14. #14
    Cyburbian ColoGI's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by Linda_D View post
    Not to mention the insurance costs. These are lawsuits waiting to happen.

    My question is, what happens at corners? Do these things end before every corner and start up again after every corner or are people on the cross-streets supposed to walk across them?
    We don't live in an animated cartoon with 'Jetsons' in the title. If there is no rail, accidents will abound. If there is a rail, you've just cut off stores. Crosswalks will screw up traffic and braking decisions. The idea is a non-starter. Something to do on SimCity, I guess.

  15. #15
    Cyburbian Otis's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by Pragmatic Idealist View post
    Moving walkways can greatly enhance the pedestrian experience ...
    Just to understand the premise, in what manner do they enhance the pedestrian experience?

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    Cyburbian mike gurnee's avatar
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    I considered moving sidewalks in Dodge City to help connect our three major tourist attractions. Found it not feasible outdoors. It may not enhance the ped experience, but it would have been unique and cool. But I also thought a lighthouse would be cool out here in the High Plains.

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    Cyburbian Linda_D's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by mike gurnee View post
    I considered moving sidewalks in Dodge City to help connect our three major tourist attractions. Found it not feasible outdoors. It may not enhance the ped experience, but it would have been unique and cool. But I also thought a lighthouse would be cool out here in the High Plains.
    I imagine a lighthouse would be cool.

    When I lived in Lincoln NB many years ago, there was a popular postcard being sold around town that showed Lincoln's waterfront lined with its downtown buildings, complete with a speeding motorboat ... I always figured they used a crafty photographer to do a double exposure because it was in the days before Photoshop.

  18. #18
    Cyburbian ColoGI's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by mike gurnee View post
    ... it would have been unique and cool. But I also thought a lighthouse would be cool out here in the High Plains.
    Now, lighthouses holding up some Vestas wind turbines...that would be cool!

  19. #19
    Cyburbian
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    Quote Originally posted by Otis View post
    Just to understand the premise, in what manner do they enhance the pedestrian experience?
    As an example, I live relatively near a casino that has a few restaurants I like to frequent. I access the establishment by car, and parking is provided in a parking structure that is connected to the main building by a bridge with four moving walkways.

    I certainly wouldn't go to the restaurants in the way I do now if I had to walk the same distance. The bridge spans entrance roadways, as well as a flood-control channel. And, the walk on the conveyors is pleasant. The perception of speed is also impressively different.



    Incidentally, the casino is situated on a small Indian reservation, so the demands of the awkward site forced what is, ultimately, an elegant solution.

  20. #20
    Cyburbian
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    Take as another example the multimodal terminal that the City of San Bernardino and the local transit agency are planning with Arup, AECOM, and Cooper Carry.

    A great premium was originally placed on keeping pedestrian connections at grade while high-speed rail would be sunken below grade. Engineers contracted by the California High-Speed Rail Authority prefer the line join regional and light rail and operate at grade while cars, pedestrians, and B.R.T. cross these lines by going under and over them. Moving walkways, in conjunction with retail and other active uses, may help preserve pedestrian connectivity within the design constraints the Authority describes.

    Cooper Carry has zealously guarded against creating a superblock condition, so moving walkways have the potential to help.

  21. #21
    Cyburbian Otis's avatar
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    I think the examples you cite, PI, make perfect sense. I have a hard time imagining moving walkways working outside such situations though. Maybe in a Minneapolis-type network of skybridges, or a Crystal City (Arlington, VA) network of underground walkways,where they cross streets to connect nodes of commercial and residential activity, or to connect parking garages to activity nodes. But I see it working only as connections, due to the need for railings.

  22. #22
    Major transit terminals tend to pose barriers, ironically. Look how Grand Central Terminal separates the north from the south portions of Park Avenue. Could moving sidewalks remedy this? Maybe. Maybe not. Still the uses proposed in San Bernardino seem more like airport uses than putting them on urban streets capes. Same with using them to connect parking garages with casinos. Isn't that the same old, let's build a complex divided from the street grid and separated from the city idea?

  23. #23
    Cyburbian
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    Quote Originally posted by Gotta Speakup View post
    Major transit terminals tend to pose barriers, ironically. Look how Grand Central Terminal separates the north from the south portions of Park Avenue. Could moving sidewalks remedy this? Maybe. Maybe not. Still the uses proposed in San Bernardino seem more like airport uses than putting them on urban streets capes. Same with using them to connect parking garages with casinos. Isn't that the same old, let's build a complex divided from the street grid and separated from the city idea?
    The work Cooper Carry is doing is unusual in just how well the massive complex is being integrated into the street grid.



    The original conception shown in the image above includes two pavilions. The westernmost accommodates regional rail while the one on the east side of E Street is for light rail and cable-propelled transit. High-speed rail is on a subterranean level. B.R.T. stations occupy the medians in the middle of the streets. Kiss-and-ride and taxis are on the "New Street." And, commuter buses are on the "L"-shaped street. Retail, office, and residential uses, among others, are also integrated into the terminal. Plus, a rooftop park is included for good measure. There is a big difference between this terminal and an airport, though, in regard to moving walkways since they would be used principally by people who are not boarding vehicles or alighting from them.

  24. #24
    Cyburbian
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    Is anyone else reminded of Heinlein's classic story The Roads Must Roll?

    It's been a while since I last read it, but the description of what happens in a failure is quite sobering.

    Another fairly reasonable example of a good application would be the proposed pedestrian tunnel to link the Toronto Island Airport with downtown. This is currently a ferry crossing, and I'm not convinced that a tunnel is really cost effective, but a moving sidewalk would be practical there.

  25. #25
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    Does anyone have comments on these examples?
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Moving_...blic_transport

    Or, this related concept:
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Central...els_escalators

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