How to solve New York City's housing crisis and transportation problems

Popular Science cars on roof
Public Domain Popular science

We have shown a number of these ideas for fixing New York City, what Jim Kunstler calls "yesterday's tomorrow" Here is a vision of the future of New York that makes total sense; clearly there isn't enough room at grade for all the cars, so let's let them drive on the roofs too. As for pedestrians, put them inside on the second floor or in covered arcades at grade, like they do in Bologna. There is even a moving sidewalk running the length of it. Designed by engineer John K. Hencken, it's "been approved by a number of eminent engineers and city planners."

Unlike those Pikettyscrapers on their teensy lots, this concept demonstrates a total urban planning concept that separates uses while developing a consistent urban form and streetscape.

Bridging of cross streets for free movement of traffic; moving platforms for speedy and convenient service; healthful elevated playgrounds for children; underground railway freight service—these are some of its outstanding features.

Popular Science 1925/Public Domain

Here is another version, found by Jim Kunstler. It also does a great job of separating uses, giving pedestrians the street and putting the cars below on two decks.

Popular science/Public Domain

Of course another answer to the problem of transportation in New York is to fill the East River with about 20 lanes of traffic. Underneath there would be acres of parking and a new subway system. The only problem here is that the East River is so small compared to the Hudson.

Modern Mechanix/Public Domain

Filling the Hudson, now that's another story. Ten square miles of new real estate "would not only provide for thousands of additional buildings, but also for avenues and cross streets which would greatly relieve the congestion in present thoroughfares." Engineer Norman Sper explains:

Build your tunnels, conduits, mail and automobile tubes, and other subterranean passages indispensable to comfort in the biggest city in the universe as you go along. Do it in the process of filling the basin left by the drawing off of the water. Upon this level would rest the foundations and basements of the buildings that would make up the new city above, planned for fresh air, sunshine and beauty. Thus, below the street level would be a subterranean system of streets that would serve a double purpose. All heavy trucking would be confined to it, but primarily it would serve as a great military defense against gas attack in case of war, for in it would be room for practically the entire population of the city.

More in Modern Mechanix.

Tags: New York City | Wayback Machine


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