Thursday, February 26, 2015

Dumb Design: Mobility

In class Tuesday we discussed the things we saw in our surrounding environment that we thought had a dumb design; and collaborated on how we would fix those issues. Then we were assigned to write again about dumb design, except this time dumb design in mobility.

On my way home from school, I was sitting on the TRAX train and saw the accordion space between the two trains. On one side of the accordion section was seating facing the outcrop of the train to protect the accordion section. The seat closest to the wall was something I had noticed before, but never really questioned until this class. The seat barely fits a smaller person and rarely have I ever seen two people sit together on the seat because of how uncomfortable it is. This was my first example of dumb design in mobility.

The next thing I saw was a walking/biking trail in the new neighborhoods being developed in Vineyard city. This trail is choppy, and difficult to maneuver in sections as the plants have started taking over the territory of the trail. Most people bike, run, or walk along the street as it is more comfortable, and the road isn't, as of yet, highly used. Roundabouts are used to slow traffic in some areas and the walking/biking path looks like an after thought placed in to appease residential complaints for the lack of a sidewalk.

We were asked to "photograph the condition to illustrate your blog, and create a well crafted analysis and description of your design or policy solution."

As far as the seating on the TRAX train I have built a SketchUp model of what I propose for future train seating construction. This allows people to actually sit in the space next to the accordion and more room for people to stand and hold the railings in that space. As of now people just stand hovering over the empty seat. We could also replace the seats facing the accordion section with a bike rack for better bike storage.

When thinking about the redevelopment of the new Vineyard neighborhood roads, they placed in a winding walking path, to I guess make it more interesting. The back and forth bends are fairly frequent and it looks a bit overkill. I would straighten out the path and cut back the plantings on it's edge. Then I would shrink down the lanes from two lanes to one going both ways and add a curb or island protected bike lane on the road so people get in the habit of sharing the road. This would help keep the speeds down on the road even when more commercial and residential developments are built.

I am not sure why we still build residential roads with two lanes both ways and still avoid adding bike lanes consistently, but I wish that would stop. I realize that the second lane "adds infrastructure" for greater developments, but keep it to one lane with a bike lane and walking trail. Cutting back lanes makes people mad, designing a enjoyable bike, car, and pedestrian street makes people feel ownership because they can use it for more than just driving. When we drive on roads we don't get attached as much to the place as if we bike or walk. Add details and green space so everyone can enjoy the street.

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I just wanted to take a moment to send a personal message out to all those in the fields of Landscape Architecture, Gardening, Horticulture, and Urban Planning/Urban Ecology. I created Landscape Connections for the purpose to share my love and passion for Landscape Architecture and Design, and Urban Ecology. I was a Landscape Architecture Major at Utah State University and currently study Urban Ecology at the University of Utah. I am working to compile as much information in the four previously mentioned fields as possible. If you have any further information, or would like to either add information or see information posted to landscape connections please let me know.