tv Development of Parkways and Freeways CSPAN September 2, 2016 11:52am-1:11pm EDT
hohm hohmann talks about development of pareways athe parkways and f. describes how many parkways were described as aesthetic experiences. not just roads between places. her class is about an hour and ten minutes. on with being gang. today we are looking at the development of roads and the role of the landscape architect in early road development. you guys probably don't know a lot of landscape architects that do roads. it is not something we generally associate with landscape architecture but it wasn't always so. in fact, the modern freeway that you guys driver eve every day hs roots in land skap ascape archi
and the park planning we've talked about already in this semester. i'll start with this review and familiar landscape that everyone should, i hope, recognize which is of course prospect park. we look at development of central park. then prospect park which was olmstead's next great park in the late 1860s. they designed roads associated with this park. these were intended to be broad tree-lined streets spinning off the edges of the park in here. there are originally supposed to be four. two are actually built -- eastern and ocean parkway. and here is a view of ocean parkway from 1894. so if we think about this, which is the first -- one of the first references to parkways in the
united states. olmstead and vox based their idea off paris. in this early conception of the parkway, they are thinking about a couple of rather simple ideas. first it is a wider than average street. second, parkways in the early conception were usually tree-lined. we've talked a little bit about dull vards and essentially a parkway in the beginning was a wide street with trees indistinguishable from the term boulevard.the beginning was a w with trees indistinguishable from the term boulevard.in the street with trees indistinguishable from the term boulevard.the beginning was a w with trees indistinguishable from the term boulevard.in the street with trees indistinguishable from the term boulevard.parkway in the beginn wide street with trees indistinguishable from the term boulevard. the most significant aspect or difference is the name which provided a sense of the utility of the parkway as linking a park to park. norman newton in your text says the parkway provides the "psychological carryover of the restful influence of one large
park area into its echo in another with little or no interruption along the way." right? so there is this idea of park. it is connected seamlessly with a parkway. parkways became to be a little bit more serious with the design of this system which is -- anyone? the puff low park system. designed by olmstead in 1871. we can see on these images the parkways connecteding the pieces of the park system, front, the parade and delaware park. as we talked about earlier, these early parkways were usually aligned with existing city grid forms. there is some ornamentation here in this part of the plan. but essentially they are these kind of straight line grid following boulevard systems.
and the parkway as part of a park system spreads across the united states, seen here in chicago west park system. reminder, jens jenson, the architect. there are wide streets, tree lines connecting park to park. these early park systems, as they develop over im, begin to expand and get larger and larger so the red box on here is the previous slide. we just looked at that system. we can see it extending to connect the riverfront park designed by kessler down to swope park, the large country park that becomes developed later on in the development of kansas city. early parkways, key aspect here is that they are intraurban within the city. they are used to structure the
inside of the city connecting park to park, downtown to park, residences to park. and early parkways having a maximum distance of about 10 to 20 miles. other well-known park and parkway systems, we talk about buffalo, chicago, minneapolis, louisville, denver, seattle, essex county. all over the country people begin building these park systems and using parkways as a way to connect them. just looking at some of the designers, of course, the olmstead firm featuring greatly kessler, horace cleveland in minneapolis and jenson, among others, in chicago. landscape architecture classifies them as formal parkways, and another type which
they begin to call informal parkways. what does informal mean? it basically means that they are curb linear and no longer follow the grid. the minneapolis parkway system, if you look at this plan, we have the formal system here with memorial drive. this was actually developed later as a formal parkway. a large boulevard. but here we can see the informal parkway rolling along the lakes in minneapolis. instead of being aligned with the grid system, the informal parkways were aligned with natural features. now we talked about this a little bit before when we were talking about park systems. but the parkway begins to be thought about as a kind of separate entity when they begin to classify them as informal parkways. john charles olmstead, whom we have talk about previously as the stepson of frederick law
olmstead senior, becomes a member of the firm in the late 1880s, writes an important article on parkways called "classes of parkways" in "landscape architecture" magazine in 1913. he characterizes parkways at this time. it is an interesting article because it's going to classify things in a way that people start to think about parkways differently. he describes them as formal and informal. and describes the informal parkway as being superior for a number of reasons summarized here. the first is that it was curval linear, aligned with natural features and adjusted to move along river channels, t
topigraphical differences and boundary differences which may not be straight as well. because they were laid out to fit the topography, they would be graded more easily than straight alignments. this would cut down on their development costs. they also did less damage to the adjacent landscape so they didn't have to grade so much around the road bed. so he advocates -- he advocates for informal parkways as the preferred form for city development and for planning future city development, in part because when you had a parkway curving through a residential district, that area could then become the park for the surrounding residences. and to make this particularly effective, he says that it is worth purchasing or taking the
land. and having that land under the park commission. the other aspect of the article that is worth looking at is he says that parkways are not just parks but they are also transportation corridors. as we talked about, we've had carriageways, pedestrian paths and bridle paths in terms of those being parts of parks. they've also become part of parkways as seen here in this absolutely gigantic cross sectional drawing. i like this cross sectional drawing because it kind of shows a hypothetical section of a rapid transit parkway or boulevard, and it's literally 400 feet wide. so your average road, two-lane road today is about 40 feet wide. so this is ten times the width. we see in this, he says that you can begin to in this cross
section of the parkway, we can begin to think about putting in different uses. so under here, he says we can have rapid transit, electric rail, we've got tree strip so different loads of transit. we could call this today a multi-modal parkway. these different areas would be divided by green trees, grass, lawn and even park. so trolleys in the 1900s are one of the preferred forms of public transportation. but i also love this drawing because right in here he's got automobile drive. so in 1913 already, john charles olmstead is saying, wow, we can put cars on parkways, too. so he's thinking forward. and this is the thing that begins to move landscape architects out of the park
business and in to the roadway business. so let's take a closer look at one of these cross sections, again looking at a park system that you are perhaps familiar with. the emerald necklace in boston. this is a great example of an informal parkway being used as both a parkway and a transit corridor. and around 1887 when this system was initially being designed, the roads connecting the parks within the necklace included different sections. there was the arborway connecting the arnold arboretum to jamaica pine. franklin park connected by another section. and the riverway connecting the back bay fans to jamaica pond as well. we're going to zoom in on this section and look at that cross
section in greater detail in a second. but from this plan, i like to kind of notice that the parkway system is laid out not along the grids of boston, not that boston has a lot off grids -- because it is an old city, but it is laid out along the corridor of the muddy river here. so it has a curvilinear path. another characteristic is that it's widened. so there is places where it actually widens out to encompass park uses. then there is places where it gets skinner in to skinny its way in between residential areas. what's my other characteristic here? it follows the natural terrain of the landscape. here it is in a photograph view. this is probably from the late '20s, early '30s, from a book by
h henry vincent hubbard called "parkways and land values" which we'll get to in a moment. this is a beautiful, leafy scene here. we've got lots of trees. main carriageway. frontage road over here. pedestrianway or bridle path through here as well. so this kind of beautiful leafy environment that serves for both transit and for park. you can take a little stroll. if we look at this line, this is again that same section, jamaica pond is over here and here is the arborway and jamaica way to the other section. i've got three lines here showing different cross sections of the parkway. we can see those here. so the red line matches the blue line, matches the green line. we can actually see how the parkway expands and contracts to
meet its surroundings. so in some places it is wider. in someplace it is narrower. and we have different elements, including roadway, bridle path, walk, and the park on the side of the road. here it is a little bit wider. so main roadway. frontage road allowing, if i live over on the residential sides, to allow me to get on to that main roadway. so that's one of the key aspects of the boston parkway system is that it has access. in the early parkway systems, they probably live on the side of this. i have direct access. i have the rights of light, air and public access to the roadway. that is a significant part of american parkway park systems in the late 19th and early 20th century. this will change, however, as we move to the modern parkway.
so, here's a diagram showing that. so we've got streets. we've got access from the street on to the main road. and then individual residents shown with the blue arrows can actually access that roadway as well. it is this kind of integrated system where residential areas, parks and roadway are all kind of connected in this happy kind of environment. the first modern parkway is generally considered to be this one. the bronx river parkway. like the parkways of the emerald necklace in boston, which were initially created as a sanitary improvement, the bronx river parkway was an effort to conserve the polluted bronx river in westchester county, new
york. and this is a sort of scene, a nice sylvan landscape scene. but much of the bronx river parkway initially looked like this. if we look closely here, we got people's laundry back here, and right there, that image is an outhouse! right? so if you think about pollution, we actually have sanitary waste pretty much probably flowing down in to the bronx river down here. so in 1907, the bronx river parkway commission, sort of like a park commission but a parkway commission, an independent agency of the city, was authorized to survey, acquire, design and construct a 16-mile linear parkway along the river. like the muddy river in boston, it was going to be a -- let's clean up the river project.
pollution control, sanitary, sewers, roads, park, all combined in to one. and the property was acquired by 1909. they had some political and financial problems and they begin construction in 1916. then in 1916, wham, world war i happens. so it is delayed until 1919 is when they begin to construct it. the parkway was designed by a team of designers. and in addition to the landscape architects, herman merkel and gilmore clark, was j. downer, the engineer. the park combined both driving and the preservation of landscape and scenic features. merkel and gilmore clark, the
l.a.s, did the planting, road alignment and slope design, while jay downer, the engineer, worked on the technical aspects and a series of bridges across the parkway. in addition, along the driveway, they inserted a series of parks in the roadway along either side. and other fun facts to know -- there was a 40-foot drive lane associated in the right of way. so looks like what we've talked about all semester in terms of parkway design. right? what makes it modern? this is what makes it modern. the automobile. by 1919 cars are becoming increasingly popular in the united states, and although the road was designed as a parkway, the bronx river parkway, in contrast to its predecessors, was designed specifically for
automobiles traveling at speeds of 25 to 35 miles an hour. so what makes it modern is this. right? the idea of combining cars with landscape design. right? and we combine the features of traditional 19th century parkways with five innovations for accommodating faster-moving automobile traffic. so it is really the car that begins to transform the parkway from a scenic device, a park device, to a transportation device. and this evolution is what we're going to talk about for the in hex -- for the rest of the class today. but we're going to start by looking at these four innovations that begin to change the parkway. so number one. the first, and perhaps the most
important, are the use of long curves. lot of you guys have graded roads in your grading classes. you've sort of done the math on this. when we look about a little trail, we can do a lot of kind of really curvy-wurvy zigs and zags because we are walking really slowly. as we get moving faster, sharp turns problematic when you are driving faster and faster. so as we are designing a road for faster speeds, the curves begins to be longer. you can start to see this in this aerial view of the bronx river parkway where here is a very nice straight line which is -- anybody want to guess what that is? a railroad. exactly. and here is the bronx river parkway. so we can see to accommodate cars moving at 20 to 30 miles an hour we have these broad curves connected to straight-line
trangents connected to long spiral curves. it creates this beautiful s sinuous line moving through the landscape. that's change number one. change number two is as we accommodate a wider road bed, 40-feet wide, we get a wider around wider right of way. so this is a landscape development plan for the roadway and we can start to see two things about the right of way. first of all, it is not consistent. it's not just a consistent narrow strip running through the terrain, but it actually widens to open up to provide use sheds or actually over here to provide park experiences. and the road bed gets wider and wider. it's up to that 400-feet width that john charles olmstead was
talking about in his article. in addition -- number three -- and i like this sort of image because here we can see the local roads -- one of the local roads around it. you will see there is no access on to the main parkway. to accommodate faster moving traffic, we eliminate that access point. why? because small children are going to run out into the cars and get crushed. right? so there is no access or what we would call limbed beingited acc. so specific points are designed where you can get on to the roadway. to make this particularly useful, we start to say that we're going to allow local traffic to travel over the roadway. the parkway with its beautiful sinuous curving line moves through the landscape, and we may perhaps mound up a little
soil and build bridges allowing local traffic to move over that. and at specific places, design what we all know today as a freeway interchange, essentially. here is road moving over. here are our abutting owners. they have no right of access so they got to come out, come down the road, come back, and get on that parkway here. that is a major kind of conceptual change in the design of roadways. and, the bridge -- where does the bridge come from? where have we seen that bridge before? anyone? central park. exactly. the grade crossing elimination structure. iowa voila. the birth of the limited access roadway through the creation of these particular bridges. right?
okay. so many interesting things here as we kind of look at this road is, wow, you kind of feel like you're out in the country. don't you? this is beautiful like tableau. you are in a park, we have this beautiful rustic stone bridge. delightful wood post light post that can be lit at night. a lovely scene. this is one of the weird parts about parkways. very modern. the car. the model t running through here. yet we look like we're in a bu colic pastoral landscape. these do not look particularly technologically driven, do they. and in fact as we look at other features on the roadside, this
looks like a nice little dutch college, doesn't it? it is a gas station. so the gas station has trellises. doesn't exactly look like your 7-eleven today. does it. it's kind of cute. there is this idea of camouflaging almost the modern technology of the automobile with this nostalgic view of the park, parkway or countryside. this is one of the weird parts about early roadway design is, technologically it is quite advanced. it's moving at speeds -- and it is hard for us to think about this as something exciting, moving 25 miles an hour. but i invite you to cast your mind back to when you first started driving a car and you're driving along and it is going 25 miles an hour and you think you're going to drive into something and it's kind of
scary? this driving at 25 miles an hour was a new sensation. something that we don't sort of think about today. and perhaps this nostalgic stone-clad bridged environment tempered that feeling of technology somewhat. huge success. bronx river parkway is embraced with a great passion. we can see postcard view. when was the last time someone sent you a postcard of a road? all right? so you're going to send a postcard, "dear auntie mae, i drove along the bronx river parkway today." right? not something we would normally do. so postcard view. very, very popular. people would go out for the sunday drive. a couple of things to notice. no stripe down the middle of the road. probably was a big fat
free-for-all. right? so we've got traffic going in both directions on here. i think these were probably pretty exciting to drive on. in addition to recreation -- so we have the idea of the park, people driving along this scenic landscaped boulevard for recreation. the other thing people realize is, wow, i can actually use this to get places. people begin to sort of say, i can be on a bumpy old dirt road somewhere, or i could be on the modern parkway with a concrete or asphalt surface and i could be flying along here. so people begin to realize that these are convenient. and around the parkways just as we see with the development of parks, the minneapolis park system, people want to live next to the parkway. because you have access to recreation, to parks, you also have access to transportation. so it spurs residential construction. everywhere a parkway was built,
houses began to build up and people began to realize that they can use these roads for commuting. so the landscape is a social and economic success. more parkways soon followed in its wake. perhaps one of the most famous was the westchester county park and parkway system which was an extension of the bronx river parkway. so bronx river parkway is down in here, and westchester county takes the idea of parkways and runs with them and creates a whole series of parkways. saw mill river parkway. hudson river parkway. all managed by the westchester county park commissioners. this is a little bit different from the way we view roads today which are usually managed by
highway commissions, county engineers. or that behemoth, the department of transportation, the d.o.t. idot, min didndots. the dots. right? because of this, aesthetics are really important. the nature of these landscapes becomes increasingly important if we look at a series of cross sections from the westchester county park system, we can see hutchinson, saw mill, bronx river, bronx parkway extension. they are these leafy environments. so we've got roadway, the roadway in many cases is actually a very small percentage of the actual parkway system. we're hopping on the parkways. we're driving to parks, we're driving to other people's houses and these are aesthetic experiences, not just
transportation experiences. new york also spawns the long island parkway system. this is designed initially not as nydot, but ny state park system. the state parks be with robert moses, who is a rather fame s builder, developer, in new york, designs in his early years of work the new york long island parkway system. and what this system did was connected manhattan. people living in manhattan, out to the beaches of long island. we talked about this earlier in our national and state park lecture about jones beach state park. places like this which were these massive recreational facilities and people could hop on their car in the bronx, get
on the central parkway, midtown, southern parkway, and come out to the beaches. so popular. 350,000 users in one summer day in 1936. who knew there were that many cars in new york apartment the time? two view sheds. a couple of things we are beginning to see here in terms of design. we are beginning to start to think about not just one highway arch but two for traffic in two directions. we're starting to expand the ide ideas. and here again, that delightful free-for-all in terms of striping. that will start to see some modifications here in a minute. i like to call the 1930s the heyday of the american parkway. the american modern parkway. there is a couple of things to think about in terms of what
constituted the popularity and certain characteristics of the parkway. first of all, think one of the things that the american parkway during this time period was, it was a collaboration between engineers, landscape architects, and architects. engineers did the technical work, the laying out of the roads, the spiral curves, the bridges, the grades, landscape architects talk about the planting design, the view sheds, the way you would experience this roadway. architects would provide the bridges and structures in an artistic sensibility. unlike early parkway systems, they are large and they're actually beginning to think about regions instead of being intraurban, they begin to be interurban. they begin to connect different places, connect cities.
and the third thing is they begin to function as planning tools. people start to say, wow, we're going to use the parkway to think about developing not just the city but the region around it. out of the urban and -- out of the heyday of the parkway, two major types of parkways emerge. first is what i call urban or regional parkways, and the second are national park service or scenic parkways. so we're going to talk about both of these. the first, urban and regional, have a couple of characteristics. the first characteristic is that they increasingly following the 1930s begin to focus on transportation over recreation. the second is they are located in and around urban areas. and the third is that they are limited access.
a couple of examples. the merritt parkway in connecticut, thbaltimore parkwa between baltimore and washington, d.c. in the mid-atlantic region. we're going to look at the merit parkway and the taconic parkway. one, merritt parkway, i like this example because it begins to show how parkways which were initially more park oriented begin to change to accommodate changing aspects of the urban environment. this is a great view of the merritt parkway. one of the hills coming down. you can see some of its innovations which included curbs along the roadside to facility tail drainage. you can see sort of -- that it is a pretty leafy environment. the other thing you can actually see is we are beginning to get
what we would now call a highway median to prevent people from driving over in to other people's lanes. so the merritt parkway is over twice the length of the bronx river parkway. it's 38 miles long. it was designed under the direction of the connecticut state highway commission. so no longer being designed by park commissions, but now there is a highway commission involved. thayer chase was the architect for ot right of way. georgedunklebesrger and leslie sumner was the structural engineer. a couple of differences. 38 miles. we can see parkways getting longer. they are beginning to connect different things. it has a 300-foot consistent right of way which expands in some places to become a little
bit wider, in part, because we are now creating a larger margin -- median. design speed. 50 to 60 miles an hour. what does that do? that begins to think about flatten being the curves. the quicker we go, the more gentle we want the curves, otherwise you're going to spin off of them. another thing is that begins to happen is they begin to get an 8% grade so they become less steep. 8%, that's about the slope of a handicapped ramp. it is not like they are completely dead-level either. another view of the merritt. you can see here that 300-foot right of way was 100 feet wider than the westchester county parkways, but the transportation intent of the merritt was also
seen in fact that the right of way was consistent throughout its length without widenings for recreational areas. there were no walking or riding paths, bridle paths, along the side. it was now simply the two lanes of automobile traffic. regional in scope, it was designed to connect new york city and new residential communities in connecticut. it went through fairfield and new haven counties. one of its major uses was to provide ease of movement through coastal communities, coastal towns, which previously had these sort of little connecting roads. now you could move relatively easily from the merritt parkway to the bronx river parkway, down in to new york and manhattan. it was very much a commuter road, which it is still today.
the merritt parkway is still used. the other aspect is the divided roadway. the divided roadway was two 26-foot wide concrete lanes, separated by a median that ranged from relatively narrow to 22 feet wide. an interesting innovation was they began to use reflectors on the curbs to guide people at night so the headlights would reflect off the curbs and you could tell where the edge of the road is. presaging all of that reflecting paint that we all now have an the side of our roads today. as you can see here, lots of plantings in the middle of the roadway. at the time, critics described the planting design as lavish and sensitive in the 1950s when it reached maturity. the road today is still known
for its plantings of flowering dogwood and its kind of logo is it a little flowering dogwood blossom for the merritt parkway. it is known for its unique plantings. finally, the bridges on the merritt parkway were extremely carefully designed. not one of them is the same. each one has a different architectural character to it. you can start to see each one had a distinct architectural flair. when i lived in connecticut i used to drive the merritt parkway quite often. this is my personal favorite. there is a pair of giant angel wings in one of the bridges in the center. another one is a metal bridge with spider webs on the metal
work. there are these beautiful, beautiful kind of landmarks as you drive down road. so this is very much an aesthetic experience. so you'd be surrounded by flowering dogwood trees, looking at angel wings which are going to take you to heaven after you crashed. these were meant to be kind of beautiful experiences. just fun facts -- 68 bridges along the parkway, each one completely unique. detailed in a variety of styles. moderne, art deco, art nouveau, various architectural styles. in contrast, was the taconic parkway. the taconic parkway kind of continued the westchester county parkway system which was down here, and it connected into bronx river, westchester county parkway system and it connected
new york city with the capital of new york, albany. it runs up the east side of new york. and it is about 80 miles in length, and it was begun in the 1930s. however, world war ii intervened. it is not completed until the 1950s. i'd like to talk about the taconic parkway as an example of the intraurban parkway because it does a couple of things. first, it connects to the parkway system. second, it begins to pioneer new changes to parkway design to make them faster, safer, more convenient. and third, it brings us toward the post war era. the taconic parkway crosses
through parts of the mountainous east coast, if you will, of new york. through the catskill mountains. so you can see that the grading of this road was pretty difficult in some places. one of the ways they handled the grading was to separate the two drive lanes, north and southbound traffic lanes. they have very, very large median structures here. and the two alignments of the roadway were completely independent. so they are on completely different alignments. so this side of the roadway does one thing, the other side of the roadway does something completely different. so it is sort of like threading two roads in a wide right of way. the divided roadways are reflected in the bridge designs which all have two arches in a
center support situated within the median. of course, these are the places where the two roadways come together because you don't want really gigantic bridges. right? and here you can see sort of recent developments where the scenic quality of the roadway is largely lost. series of larger bridges which cross rivers. and blasted in some places actually through rocky terrain. so they actually came in with dynamite, explode the road and situate the roadside next to the road. because of the dramatic terrain, sheet flow was no longer possible in terms of the design. so they design new drainage system for this roadway as well. you can see catch basins and culverts. i love the culverts. we're still in camouflage mode. no one's actually going to see
this because it is on the roadside. so it is the outfall from the water flows in to here, and it flows out, but we're still cladding it in beautiful stone masonry. so the detail, construction detailing on this is very interesting. another strategy in contrast to the taconic parkway, the curb is now a mountable curb which allows disabled vehicles to jump over the curb and get up on to the grassy road shoulder. we're thinking about how to manage traffic when somebody breaks down. how do you get people out. you have a mountable curb which allows it. and, here is a wonderful view of the taconic parkway where we can start to see that engineering, the beauty of engineering and that sort of lovely curvature. so two independent roadway alignments separating here. the wider these are, reduces
headlight glare. headlights are not shining into your eye which was more of a problem when the roads are closer together. we can start to see limited access becoming easier. so these access points begin to get wider and wider to allow you to accelerate on to the traffic which is moving at 60 miles an hour. so these new smoother geometries begin to evolve here. what is the nature of that to geometry? okay. everybody, we're going to go into math world here for a moment. after the 1930s, parkways like the taconic parkway begin to experience these changes that we talked about. faster speeds, widening ride of ways, longer distances and flattened curves. the other things that they
change are the geometries of road design. i've got two diagrams here. this is from christopher tunnard, "mad main america, chaos or control." a great book published in the '60s or '70s about changing aesthetics in american environments. they have a great section on highway design. so if you've laid out a road or a trail in your grading class, one of the things you know is that you have to go back to your geometry. we talk about you put a straight line down. here we've got a river. these are indicating topography. create straight lines about where you want your road to go, then you connection them with arcs. that circular arc. there is a point of tangency where the curve meets the
tangent. right? so that was how parkways were laid out prior to the 1930s. just like roads. right? have roads and connect them up. as you go faster and faster though, one of the things which begins -- people begin to realize is that this point of tangency creates a little bit of difficulty in driving. so a new idea is promoted in the 1930s to the 1950s which are spiral curves. so that instead of having a straight line with a tangent, you can actually just connect the two spirals by themselves. because the geometry, there is no longer this kind of straight line. this is an interesting aesthetic difference, again from tunnard's book, where here we have radial geometry, straight line, curve,
tangent design here in the road. and here we have a spiral curve. the tangent gives you this little kink in the road where you're meeting the curve and the tangent line. and the spiral curve creates this incredibly smooth line within the landscape. so it has two benefits. one is it creates this smooth driving curve, easier to drive. the other is visually it removes these funny little kinks which you begin to perceive as you are going faster and faster. you actually start to see this. so if you want to think about experiencing this, think about a highway ramp. an on-ramp. try the intersection down highway 30 -- this is my favorite place to experience this -- highway 30 and interstate 35. you are driving on the on-ramp and it's got that nice swooping curve. you kind of make that little jog in your steering wheel, right?
you're actually experiencing a spiral curve there. right? because you ar radius is not consistent. your radius changes. so we begin to pioneer new geometry to change to accommodate the vehicle and accommodate new speeds. just stop for a moment and kind of think about this. we've talked about the development of new typologietyp of landscape typologies, and we go from the country park with capability ground to the public park. we go from the parkway connecting prospect park to another park in brooklyn, to a parkway designed for rapid transit. we see landscape architecture creating new kinds of landscapes which hadn't previously existed.
okay. so, look, ma, no kinks. a couple other aspects about urban and regional parkways. as we design things like the taconic -- the taconic has a number of large parks associated with it. it was used for tourism to get people from new york up into the catskills. it still cuts through a lot of rural areas. but part of the reason for creating the taconic parkway was to connect the commercial stronghold of new york city to the capital, albany. so people could have this convenient transportation, particularly in the 1930s, prior to common air traffic. so urban and regional parkways increasingly become used for commuting traffic. and, initially they are
intrastate. they're usually done by a state highway commission. not a parkway commission but a state highway commission. other ones we talked about baltimore, washington, if anyone's been in new jersey, the garden state parkway is another great example of an intrastate parkway system. regionally and locally, lilac way in minnesota. anyone from minnesota here? twin cities? otherwise known as highway 100. what's lilac way is now one of the major commuting routes in the twin cities. one of your assignments online in your reading, in your syllab syllabus, there is a link to twin cities public television pbs video on lilac way. so that's an assigned video. do not forget to watch that.
that talks about ccc construction. wpa, cwa, depressionary construction of highway 100. okay, any questions so far? we're rolling through this really rapidly today. okay. second kind of parkway. nps/scenic parkways. these roads were existing in contrast to the urban and regional parkways. they are quite different because they were almost exclusively built for recreational and scenic preservation and focus. they had much less emphasis on regional traffic patterns and shaping of urban growth patterns. in their focus, they tended to be on the experience of the drive and the experience of the
driving through a beautiful scenic area in an automobile. a couple of differences. they have generally larger rights of way. large rights of way. usually situated within parks to provide for maximum preservation of scenery. they built on traditions, not only of park design in urban areas, but park design in national parks. so if we see this image here, this is going to the sun road in glacier national park. other roads like paradise road in mt. rainier. the park service had a tradition of providing access to scenic and difficult terrain. and when automobiles become increasingly important, they hop on the bandwagon and begin to
design roads which are, in some cases, interstate, but in it the extreme cases, begin to link different states.rstate, but in extreme cases, begin to link different states.astate, but ine extreme cases, begin to link different states. design speeds are slower on nps parkways because you are touring. you are not getting somewhere. you are looking at the scenery. meant to also enhance the recreational nature of travel. there was strong attention to coordinated signage and interpretive signage. in part, because of the park service's traditions in interpreting landscapes. and they are extremely large and long. and because of this, they take a long time to construct. and they focus on scenic preservation and in some cases cultural preservation. a few key examples. one of the earliest was mt.
vernon memorial parkway. i don't believe this was initially built by the national park service, though it is now managed by the national park service. but again, it was a parkway, a scene ic and culture preservati parkway meant to take visitors from washington, d.c. to hartford's president's home. a couple of other ones which i would put in to this category which are not necessarily nps parkways but are scenic parkways is the great river road which runs up the coast of minnesota, runs up coast of the entire mississippi from minnesota to the gulf of mexico, was actually a failed park service project to create a parkway on both sides of the mississippi river. the new columbia river highway in oregon is another example on the west coast, which is a state road. so we're going to look at two
landscapes here. the first is colonial parkway and the second is the blue ridge which some of you have been on. colonial parkway. colonial parkway is one of the earliest national park parkways. it was designed to connect jamestown, site of the first landing of the virginia colony, you know, pocahontas. and yorktown which was the site of the surrender of the revolution. in the 1930s, the national park service said, wow, we should be getting into the historical park business and they began to build parks in the east coast. and to get people between these two historic sites, they decided to create a parkway.
you can see the right of waylaid out here. and in the middle was williamsburg which at the time was being constructed by the rockefeller family as a reconstruction of the colonial capital. so colonial parkway was designed to connect these two historic sites and also to connect williamsburg. the design is a pretty interesting design. and it encompassed both scenic and historic preservation and new ideas about road technologies. nps designers were kind of at the forefront. on the one hand, the access bridges, the great crossing elimination structures were designed using colonial brick. they actually created a series of brickyards in virginia. this is during the 1930s where they would create brick in the traditional colonial process.
each brick was handmade so not machine manufactured with that kind of hand craftsmanship we talked about in terms of rustic the parkway, you would see these colonial style, though nobody built a colonial style bridge like that for an automobile in the 1700s, but we have that sort of material characteristic. the road bed was designed in concrete, and exposed aggregate, so it has a kind of pebbled texture and a yellow color to kind of mimic historic road perhaps, historic railroad. though it was, again, designed for car speeds of around -- between 30 and 50 miles per hour depending on the section. in contrast, a series of bridges were designed to cross over the tidal estuaries which flood from the james river, and these were
designed in modern concrete, so that when you looked down the roadway, you would see colonial style bridges, but if you looked out your car window, as you were driving along the road, you would see modern concrete style bridges. the -- here is a view of one of those bridges. we can see this kind of streamlined modern farms, we talked last week about modern architecture and the idea of the machine, these bridges were paired down, simple to reflect the machine age, and if we think about the curves on this lovely chevy and the curves here, we can sort of think about those two designs being similar perhaps. in addition, the creeks were all demarcated, significant historic sites were demarcated with interpretive signage as well. very much this experience of
driving through the wooded uplands along the rivers, out across tidal marshes, beautiful drive between these two historic sites. on a much larger scale was the blue ridge parkway. the blue ridge parkway was conceptualized as a way to connect shenandoah and great smoky mountains national parks and travels across north carolina and tennessee. it is 469 miles long, and was built between the 1930s and finally finished in the 1970s. the designer, the landscape designer involved in addition to a whole series of architects and engineers, somebody who is generally given credit for much of the design is stanley abbott, well known landscape architect in the park service, he had begun his work in the 1930s on
the westchester county parkway system. and during the depression, moved into national park service as a career. and he did much of the design work. the blue ridge parkway, in addition to its great length, is known for some of its heroic engineering. one of the major elements is a giant viaduct which crosses a particularly steep area of mountainous terrain and we see this beautiful road winding through the steep slopes of appalachia. the blue ridge mountains. much of it was built during the depression, these kind of handmade walls again reflected, national park service, rustic architecture and naturalistic landscape design.
plantings were planted to heal roadside scars, great care was taken in designing views and view sheds. the road was known also for its cultural resource preservation. there was a desire along the roadside to try to capture some of the crafts and farming practices and open fields, agricultural aspects of the landscape. the project was also notable for its attempt at public relations, okay. so cutting across 500 miles, gaining property, you know, buying property from individual farmers proved to be rather difficult, right. and in many of these communities, people did not want to interact with the g-men or the men from the government,
right? so one of the things they ended up doing is they pioneered the use of the conservation easement where they couldn't purchase land on either way, widen that right of way, they would purchase an easement to the land that would allow them to preserve the view shed. today, this is a practice widely known for protection of things like wetlands, natural areas, as well as view sheds. at the time it was one of the revolutionary practices created by the blue ridge parkway. norman newton describes this pretty completely in his text. okay. so parkways, blue ridge parkway finished in 1970 as one of the last major parkways constructed by the national park service. naches in mississippi lingers
on, also 500 mile road along a former indian trail, also extensive, but by the 1970s, people weren't building parkways anymore. right. and i said the 1930s were the heyday of the parkway, and indeed blue ridge parkway begun in the '30s, finished in the 1970s, this long road. why does it take so long? why do parkways fall off after the 1930s? for a couple of reasons. after world war ii, there is an increasing emphasis in the country on transportation. as people begin to use roads less for scenic travel, and more for getting from point a to point b, people's priorities in roadway design changed.
and in the 1940s and '50s, there was an engineering movement away from the parkway to something called the complete highway. and i love the phrase, the tagline for the complete highway movement, which was safety, utility, economy, and beauty, all parts in harmony. okay. which sounds really great, except for the fact that there is three quarters of this pragmatic function and one quarter is devoted to beauty. right. so the idea of an aesthetic experience of roadside driving really begins to fall off in the more rapid pace of the post world war ii era. and engineering begins to become the name of the game for roadway design, right? and we're concerned with traffic speeds, with safety, all of those trees in the roadside,
those are fixed hazardous objects, right. that's not a tree. that's a fixed hazardous object. when you run into a fixed hazardous object, you're likely to die. so if we can choose between a beautiful tree and a dead person, we're going to take out the tree and not have a dead person. right. okay. so we begin to move toward this idea also promoted by architects where form follows function. if the roadway follows its function to get from point a to point b, it will by nature be beautiful. right? okay. so that's how we end up with the word parkway moving to freeway, through way, expressway. so you can see that change in the way we talk about roads, right.
freeway, through way, it is about speed. so roads get increasingly flatter, increasingly longer, and at the same time, in the post world war ii era, under the eisenhower administration, people begin to say, you know what, we do need better roads. we need roads that we can connect our cities with in case of moments of great national emergency. right. and thus the federal aid highway act also known as the national interstate and defense highway act occurs in the 1950s and we have the first project in the united states and interstate 94, view shed of that road being opened. and here is what the freeway, through way, expressway looks like in contrast to the parkway.
what is it? it is the curves begin to be so flat as to be nonexistent. they become increasingly straight. because straight is better. we now begin to design curves just to keep it interesting enough to make sure that you don't fall asleep on the roadway when you're driving back home after a long week at school, right? you're commuting back to -- on highway 80 or 35. we have curves primarily to manage not a view shed, but curve to manage you as a driver as waking up. we eliminate the planting along the roadside, right. because it is going to collect snow, it is going to hide view sheds. in some places, particularly in cities, this is highway 94 in st. paul, between minneapolis and st. paul down here, minneapolis is over here, we
eliminate the planting. we sync the road so that cross traffic can conveniently move over. bridges are no longer arch ways, constructed for an aesthetic experience, but rather to be as convenient as possible. right. and so we have a very different change in our roadway design. and social attitudes are changed as well. you think about the bronx river parkway, and that sort of experience of joy and excitement and driving a car for a first for the first time as a recreational activity, how many of us think about driving a car as a recreational activity anymore. we don't, right. it is not fun. i think my father was the last person i knew who liked to go for a sunday drive, right? pile the kids in the car and torture us, right?
car trips were not recreational for me. so driving is no longer a gee whiz activity. so for me, as i teach you, teaching people some of who are going to be landscape architects, i think the lesson here is that with the loss of aesthetic goals for the roadway comes a loss of the world for the landscape architect. it is not something that our profession does a lot of anymore. and engineers are the profession of choice, the profession of function, and they are not too concerned about the aesthetic experiential concern, right. i think this is a loss. many people spend hours and hours of their lives on freeways and commuting.
right. and we can sort of think about that bubble in the car that we're sitting in or we can think about the nature of the roadside along it. and i think there is a lost opportunity here for taking back these environments and thinking about them as possibly an environment that is not a sterile environment where you're in your bubble, but perhaps it can change the way that you think about driving that road as a designer and as a driver. and what if, what if we took just a tiny little bit more, right, maybe not 3-1, safety, economy, utility and beauty, but what if we start to think about changing these environments so that they too could be productive and green. what if they generated solar energy. what if they became places for prairies, which have habitat.
how can we as a landscape architecture profession begin to change this environment that we all spend a lot of time in, and to something that is more productive for the environment, and more beneficial to the human beings who move through them. and i say looking back to the heyday of the parkway is one way to think about that. cool. and we are done, five minutes early. you just got five minutes of your life back. [ applause ] this week during american history tv primetime, we feature our lectures in history series taking you into college classrooms across the country. each night we debut a new lecture, tonight, a look at how the u.s. transportation system developed, we begin at 8:00 eastern with a development of parkways and freeways from an iowa state university lecture.
then from the university of virginia, a look at the impact of cars on u.s. cities. at 10:30 eastern, the development of the electric rail system taken from a clemson university lecture. american history tv, primetime tonight. this labor day weekend, american history tv on c-span3 has three days of featured programming. saturday night at 8:00 eastern, bakersfield college professor oliver rosales share his personal family history and other oral histories about the national farm workers association. >> chavez was absolutely blowing this up. the movement of farm workers, the people at the bottom of the society, right, were suddenly becoming engaged and fighting for their rights, wages, working conditions, but also mobilizing for politicians, right. we'll talk maybe a little bit about this later, i know some of you mentioned this in your oral history. one of the best friends of the
chavez family is the kennedy family, right. starting with john and then robert and their children. >> sunday evening at 6:00 on american artifacts, we'll visit the national security archive at george washington university with its director thomas blatten for the 50th anniversary of the freedom of information act, signed into law by president johnson. >> john moss, lonely crusader all this time, all of a sudden he picked up this gribright you illinois congressman for co-sponsor, a guy named donald rumsfe rumsfeld. rumsfeld's statement on the floor of the house in 1966 is a pretty good explanation of why the bill then became a real majority bill. rumsfeld said government's gotten so big, it is involved in so many different pieces of our lives and our commercial life and industrial life and personal lives, medicare passed, social security, so forth, we need the right to get those records out of agencies to be able to uphold
our own. standard of living, liberty, freed freedom. >> at 11:00 eastern, the national park service marking the with 100 anniversary at arlington house, the robert e. lee memorial. we talk to robert stanton and brandon bias, former arlington house manager who will oversee a year long restoration of the mansion, slave quarters and grounds. >> we were incredibly fortunate we were able to really tailor our specific needs for all kinds of things for the museum objects, for telling the history, the interpretation and the physical fixes and construction that needed to happen. not just to the buildings, but to the historic grounds and gardens and able to present that to mr. rubenstein and he very generously donated $12.35 million to make that happen. >> for our complete american history tv schedule, go to c-span.org. this weekend, c-span cities tour along with our comcast cable partners will explore the literary life and history of denver, colorado. on book tv, we visit the
tattered cover bookstore, founded in 1971, it is considered the cornerstone of literary culture of denver. >> if you look at tattered cover and you'll see in the store green carpets and sometimes brass fixtures and dark wood, the original barnes & noble superstars were modeled on this. >> juan thompson talks about living with his father, gonzo journalist hunter s. thompson and his book, "stories i tell myself". >> he was born in 1936, so when he's growing up, he didn't grow up in an era when fathers were, you know, typically heavily involved with raising the kids. so that was part of it. and second, writing was always -- that was the most important thing to honor. family was secondary for sure. >> also this weekend, as part of our c-span cities tour, some history of denver, colorado, on american history tv. cindy souders, national fish and
wildlife service ranger on the rocky flats nuclear site's transition into a national wildlife refuge. >> so we do have elk that use this area, they use the drainages for calving. we also have mule deer, so there may be some mule deer fawns out here. coyotes are other common mammals. occasionally there is a bear in this area. >> and then kimberly field, author of the book "the denver mint: 100 years of gangsters, gold and ghosts" talks about how the mint changed the city. >> by the 1880s, denver itself had gotten rich from mining. and it wanted to become the queen city of the plains, the center of commerce, the leader in the western united states. and the city fathers at that point decided that a mint they could be proud of was going to be part of that process. the c-span cities tour of
denver, colorado, saturday at noon eastern on c-span2's book tv, and sunday afternoon at 2:00 on american history tv on c-span3. working with our cable affiliates, and visiting cities across the country. now on election dmurz history, peter norton is a history of technology professor at the university of virginia in charlottesville and this class he looks at what is called america's love affair with the automobile. exploring the impact of cars on american cities and the second half of the 20th century. this includes the destruction of neighborhoods for new highways, and a significant change in the character and structural density of downtowns to accommodate parking decks and surface lots. this class is an hour, ten minutes. >> i'd like to start with a question, i want a clear answer from you all.