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COLLISIONS IN STREET AND HIGHWAY TRANSPORTATION
W. J. Sidis
71. Revamping Street Car Tracks. Where the midcity bus plan here outlined is adopted, there are several incidental advantages which may be had. If the city has a grid of street car tracks threading its down-town streets, it may be feasible to substitute the buses for the cars operating say north and south, leaving the east and west car lines. Which set of car lines is selected for the substitution will depend upon the length of the lines and the character of the territory served. Generally, the longer lines and those running through the central business district in fairly straight lines, and particularly those serving important territory, would be permitted to remain. The whole process of adaptation will require more or less planning and revamping. In addition to replacement of one set of car lines, the straightening of remaining lines and elimination wherever practicable, of switches, curves, and other special track work, are highly desirable. The substitution of the rubber tired buses for one set of car lines, will eliminate all need for track crossings. The improvement in speed, and absence of jolting, noisy track work is of the first importance in our proposed modernized city transportation system.
72. Ultimate Downtown Transport. The replacement of all car lines in the central business district by the midcity buses, would be expected eventually. Inasmuch as the ultimate plans for transportation coordination in a modern city seem to indicate, beyond a doubt, that the terminals of intercity bus and rail lines of all classes will be gradually moved further away from the heart of the city, the necessity for a universal downtown transportation system of the highest character, is obvious. The only types of vehicles to ultimately remain in the central business district along with the midcity buses, will be commercial vehicles, taxicabs, and those private motor cars which are used by “all-day drivers.” It might be mentioned in passing, that the taxicab and the last mentioned type of motor car have something in common with commercial vehicles, that is they are frequently handy or perhaps essential on account of an article of baggage, parcel, or other object being transported by the passenger. Some of the fundamental difficulties pertaining to commodity and parcel handling, are discussed under “Commercial vehicles” (84).
73. Complications Resulting from Taxicab “Pick-ups.” The method regularly employed by taxicab drivers in picking up patrons at street corners, usually results in blocking other traffic units. To halt most or all of the traffic at an important intersection during a rush hour, merely to permit a passenger to board a taxicab, seems unwarranted. This condition is forced upon the cab driver by inadequate curb space for loading and unloading.
74. Solution Requires Vacant Curb Space. On a well-ordered street having traffic moving in only one direction, taxicabs would run only in the normal-speed vehicular lane near the center of the street; or when about to stop, they would proceed to the slow speed lane at the right side of the street and then to a vacant curb space at a mid-block point.
Here the loading or unloading would be done. Once a cab enters a running lane, it would be prevented by rule, from taking on or discharging passengers, particularly on any part of the intersections. It would be essential to have parking regulations which assured the vacant curb space. The acquirement of proper habits on the part of taxicab patrons would seem to follow naturally as the result of systematic handling of the parking problem on a large scale.
75. Residential Parking. 76. For Hotels and Apartment Houses. The problems created on residential streets by curbs closely packed with standing vehicles are quite similar to those found in downtown areas. Such differences as are found relate especially to the type of dwellings found in any locality. While the managements of downtown hotels may profitably consider the combination-use building, that is garage incorporated in the hotel building, it would seem that the separate garage building is, in general, best adapted to the needs of the average hotel, whether it be in a business section or in a residential area. The same general idea applies to apartment houses. For the occupants of either hotels or apartments to abandon their private motor cars in the streets for the night, seems illogical, as there will not be curb space enough associated with their respective buildings to meet the demands of the occupants. Moreover, the double parking problem at entrances of hotel and apartment buildings, created by unrestricted parking, is a source of danger to the public and annoyance, especially to neighbors.
77. For Detached Residences. No great problem relating to vehicle parking is found on streets having the usual types of detached or dual residences, for these homes usually have garages upon the premises and sufficient curb space for their parking requirements.
78. For “Row Houses.” Row houses often have special parking problems. The curb space available is often insufficient to keep the density of parked vehicles low enough to obviate double parking and other dissatisfactions. Some row houses have insufficient land attached to provide garage room at the rear. If a front entrance garage were to be placed under every house in a row, the aspect of the street might be marred unduly, to say nothing of the danger and inconvenience to pedestrians resulting from so many driveways across the sidewalk.
79. Rear Exit Garages. Rear exit garages under the houses are feasible, but the demands for garage space may exceed that available; a half-dozen vehicles may be owned by the occupants of a single house. A garage and traffic way structure covering the rear ends of all of the lots of a given block and the alley space as well, would appear feasible. The entire roof of the structure might be designed as a local traffic way for standing and moving vehicles. Connection with the street would be by elevator or ramp. Occupants of the houses could readily park their vehicles for short or long periods at the rear of the houses, out of the way of street traffic and free from molestation.
80. Entrances of Large Buildings. In addition to the fact that long time parkers cannot expect to find curb space near any large and well populated building such as a hotel or an apartment house, there is associated with this the question of unloading and loading passengers at the entrances of these buildings, which from the standpoint of convenience is becoming increasingly important. Large retail establishments and particularly theatres present this problem in an aggravated form. The difficulty is apparently insoluble since the vehicle passengers usually require that they be taken directly to the door of the building, even at the cost of delay in waiting for preceding vehicles. At railroad stations the problem is primarily that of time, rather than of volume beyond facility, therefore a taxicab passenger destined for a railroad station will often leave the cab if necessary, at a point near the station.
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