tv Development of Parkways and Freeways CSPAN September 2, 2016 3:46pm-5:05pm EDT
we've talked a little bit about boulevards and essentially a parkway in the beginning was a 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 s the parkway begins to be thought about as a kind of separate entity when they begin to classify them as informal parkways. and john trails olmsted, whom we talked about previously as steptson of frederick olmsted sr. becomes the member of the firm in the late 1880s writes an important article on parkways called "classes of warkways" in landscape architecture in 1913. he characterizes parkways at this time, and it's an interesting article because it's going to classify things in a way that people start to think about parkways differently.
and 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 curvilycurvi line linear, as we talked about, and suggested to move along channels and other features and property boundaries, which may not be completely straight as well. because they were laid out to fit the topography, they could be graded more easily than straight alignments. so this would cut down on their development costs. they also did less damage to the adjacent landscape, so you didn't have to grade so much about the road bed. so 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 kufrk through a residential district, that area could then become the park for the surrounding residences. and to make this particularly effective, he says it is worth purchasing or taking the land. wrong way. 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. and as we've talked about, we've had carriageways, pedestrian paths and bridle paths we talked about in terms of parks.
they also have 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 10 times the width. and within 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 a tree strip, so different modes of transit. we would call this today a multimodal parkway. these different areas would be divided by green. trees, grass, lawn and even
park. okay? 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 1913 already, john charles olmsted is heard as saying, wow, we can put cars on parkways, too. he's thinking forward. and this is the thing that begins to move landscape architects out of the park business and into 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 arbor way connecting the arnold arboretum to jakelyn pond. franklin park connected by another section and the riverway connecting the back bay fence to jamaica pond as well. and 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'd like you to kind of notice that the parkway system is laid out not along the grids of boston, not that boston has a lot of grids because it's an old city, but it's laid out along the corridor of the muddy river here, so it has a curvilinear path. another characteristic of it is
that it's widened, so there are places where it actually widens out to encompass park uses, and then there's places where it gets skinnirkskinnier to skinny to residential park places. 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 henry vincent hubbard called "park values and land buys." we can see a cross section of that intersection. it's a beautiful leafy scene here. we've got lots of trees, main carriageway, frontage road over here, pedestrian or bridle path through this way as well. it's kind of a beautiful, leafy environment that serves both transit and park. you can take a little stroll.
if we look at this slide, this is, again, that same section, jamaica pond is over here, and here's the arbor way and jamaica way, which is the other section. and 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, right? so in some places it's wider, in some places it's narrower, and we have different elements including roadway, bridle path, walk and the park on the side of the road. here it's a little bit wider. main roadway, frontage road allowing, if i live on the residential sides, allowing me to get onto 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, if i live on the side of this, i have direct access. i have the rights of light 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 diag remarkdiagram that. we have streets, access to the street from the main road, and the residences shown by the blue arrows can access that roadway as well. it's kind of this integrated system where residential areas'
parks and roadway are all kind of connected with this happy kind of environment. the first modern parkway is generally considered to be this one, the bronx river parkway. and like the parkways of the emerald necklace in boston, 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've 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 into the bronx river down here. so in 1907, the bronx river parkway commission, sort of like a park commission but a parkway commission, independent agency of the city, was authorized to survey a choir, 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. sewers, roads, park, all combined into one. and the property was going to fire in 1989. they had some political and financial problems, and they began construction in 1916. then in 1916, wham, world war i happens. it's delayed until 1919, which 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 clarke, jay downer was the engineer. the preserved landscape had scenic features. 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, there was a 40-yard drive lane in the row. 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. the idea of combining cars with landscape design. and we combine the features of traditional 19th century parkways with five innovations for accommodating faster moving
automobile traffic. so it's really the, from a scenic advice to a park device to a transportation device. this evolution we'll be talking about for the rest of class today, but we're going to start by looking at these four innovations that began to change the parkway. okay, so number 1. the first, and perhaps the most important, is the use of lawn curves. you've sort of done the math on this, and when we're looking at a little trail, we can do a lot of kind of curvy-wurvy zigs and zags because we're walking quite slowly, right? as we get moving faster, sharp turns become problematic when you're driving faster and
faster. so as we're designing a road for faster speeds, the curves begin to be longer. i tried to see this in the broadview, which is a really straight line --. here is the bronx river park, 30 on, 40 miles an hour, maybe these broad curves are connected to broad spiral curves, right? and it creates this beautiful, sinewous line weaving through the landscape. that's change number 1. change number 2 is as we accommodate a wider road bed, 45 feet wide, and wider and lighter right-of-way. this is a development plan for
the roadway. first of all shls it not consistent. but it actually widens to open up to provide view sheds or also over here to. and the road bed gets wider and wider, right? it up to them. 400 feet width that will john charles olmsted was talking, number 3, and i like this sort of image, because here we can see the local roads, one of the local roads around it, and you'll see there is noack assess onto 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's noack assess or what we will. specific design points are in mind to get you on the, i make th this. we say we're going to allow local traffic to tral over the roadway. so the parkway with its beautifu beautiful,. we may have mounted up a little soil to move oval. we all know this today as a freeway interchange, essentially, right? here's road moog. they had no way of access, so they have to come.
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. octoberly rkt the grade crossing elimination structure. 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 get through this. wow, you feel like you're out in the country, don't you? this beautiful tableau in a park you're driving down. we have this beautiful rusk bridge and the priddle.
it will can be learns the scene. this is one of the weird things. we looked like we were in a bucolic landscape. these do not look particularly tech naturally driven, do they? in fact, as we look at other features on the roadside, this loorks the size of a little dutch cottage, doesn't it? it is a gas station. so the gas station has trellis. it doesn't look like your average 7-eleven, does it? there is the idea of camoufla camouflaging modern technology of the battleview. we have a staggering view of the
park, parkway or countryside. this is one of the weird parts about early roadway design. quite technologically, it's quite advanced. it's moving at speeds. it's hard for us to think about this as something exciting moving 25 miles an hour, but i invite you to cast your own mind back to it's going 20 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 we don't really think about today. and perhaps this nostalgic stone-clad bridge environment tempered that feeling of technology somewhat. huge success. bronx river parkway is embraced
with a great passion. we can see a postcard view. when is the last time someone sent you a postcard of a road? you're going to send a postcard. dear auntie may. i drove along the bronx river parkway today. all right? not something we would normally do. so a postcard view. very, very popular. people would go out for the sunday drive. one thing to notice, no white stripe driven down the milddle f the road. it was probably a big free-for-all. people driving along the scenic landscaped boulevard for recreation. the only thing people recognize is, wow, i can actually use this to get places. people begin to sort of say, hmm, i can be on a bumpy old
dirt road somewhere or i can be on the modern parkway with a concrete or asphalt surface and i can be flying along here. so people begin to realize these are convenient. around the parkway, people want to live next to the parkway. you have access to recreation, to parks. you also have access to transportation. it spurs mexican construction. people realize they can use these roads for commuting. so the landscape is a social and economic success. moorpar more parkways soon followed in its wake. perhaps the most famous was the
westchester park and park system which was an extension of the bronx river parkway. so the bronx river parkway is down in here, and westchester county takes the idea of park ways and runs with them skpl. hutchinson county all reviewed by others. that dmv, department of transportation, the dot. the dots are not park kpigserra.
if we look at a series of cross sections from the westchester county park system, we can see hutchinson saw no bronx river extension. they are this leafy environment. so we've got cases. we're hopping onto parkways, we're driving to parks, we're driving to other people's houses, not just transportation. new york also spawns the long island island. this was designed initially, but nyu park system. the state ousted rogers who is a
builder/developer in new york. designs in his early years of work, the new york/long island parkway system what this system did was connect manhattan, people living in man han at that time. you're in our national state park electric tour about jones. these were massive kraekz alpha silts, 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 at the time. a couple things we're beginning to see when it comes to design.
we're beginning to start to think about not just one overhead arch but two. we're starting to expand the ideas, and here, again, that delightful free-for-all in terms of striping. we'll start to see some notifications here in a minute. i like the call the 1930s the heyday of the american modern parkway. there are a couple things to think about in terms of what constituted the popularity and certain characteristics of the parkway. first of all, i think one of the things that american parkway during this time was, it was a collaboration between engineers, landscape architects and architects. engineers did the.
the planting design rkts tthis . they would provide the artistic sensibility. unlike early park systems, they are large. they're actually beginning to think about regions instead of. and the third thing is they. people think, wow we're going to be developing you a. out of the urban, two major parkways emerged. the first is what i call regional urban parkways and the second are national park service
or scenic parkways. we're going to talk about both of these. the first, urban and regional, have a couple characteristics. the first characteristic is that they increasingly, following the 1930s began to focus on transportation over recreation. the second is they are located in or around urban areas, and the third is that -- they aren't limited access. a couple of. >> multiple addresses between washington, obviously, in the mid-atlantic reason. >> we'll look at two, merritt
parkway to noefr parkway. 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 facilitate drainage, and you can see it's a pretty leafy environment. the other thing we actually see is before to prevent highway median over into other is over twice the length of the bride's favor parkway. it is 30 miles long. it was designed under the direction of the canadian.
so now there is a highway commission involved. chase was the resulting landscape for the right of. and lez lee summer was the structural engineer. and a couple of differences. we can see parkways beginning to get longer. they're beginning to connect different things. it is a 300-mitt. in part. in part because we're creating a medium. what does that do? that begins to think about ghentings along the curbs. otherwise you'll spin off of them. the other thing that has to
happen is they. 8 where to get dead and level, either. another view of the merritt. you can see here that 300-foot right-of-way is 100 feet shorter than merritt's. but they were sure to see that it was consistent enough for its lengths without recreation of widening areas. it was simply the two lanes of
widened highways. it went through fairfield and new haven counties, and 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 into new york skman hand manhat which is still very much is today. the other construction is the divided roadway, which we talked about. the divided roadway was 226 wide concrete lanes, including the lanes that ran from narrow to 22 feet wide. an interesting innovation was they began to use reflectors on
the curbs to guide people at night to know if their firms were and you could tell where the edge of the road is. predating the reflective paint we have on the side of all our roads today. as you can see here, lots of plantings if the middle of the roadway and at the time, critics described the design as lavish when it reached maturity. the road is still known for its flowering dogwood and its logo is a flowering dogwood blossom for the merritt parkway. so it's known for its unique plantings. finally, the bridges on the merritt parkway were extremely carefully designed. each one is not the same.
each one has a different characteristic difference to it. you can start to see each one had a distinct architectural flare. when i lived in connecticut, i used to drive very often. this is my personal favorite. there is a pair of giant elbow rings. >> on the metal work. they're beautiful, beautiful kind of landmarks as you drive down the road. you would be surrounded by flowering dogwood trees listening to your angel wings that have happened since they began. just fun facts to know, 16
bridges along the parkway with various architectural styles. in contrast was the tacona parkway. the tacona parkway kind of continued the westchester county park system, which was down here, and it connected into bronx river, westchester county park system, and it connected new york city with the capitol of new york, albany. so it runs up the east side of new york. and it's about 80 miles in length. it was begun in the 1930s. however, world war ii intervened. it was not completed until the 1950s. i like to talk about the tacona
parkway as an example of the interurban parkway because it does a couple things. first it connects to the parkway system. second, it begins to pioneer new changes to a parkway design to make them faster, safer, more convenie 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. 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 lengths, north and southbound traffic lanes, and they have very, very large
median structures here. and the two alignments of the woi were completely independent. yeah, it's sort of like threading wo roads in a raw right-of-way. the divided roadways are reflected in the bridge designs which all have two arches with 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. and here you can see sort of recent developments where the scenic quality of the roadway is largely lost. a series of larger bridges which
cross rivers and blasted in some raisins. because of the dramatic terrain, sheet flow was no longer possible in terms of the design. so they designed a new drain arj system for. and culvert, i love the culverts here in cam. no one is able to see this because it's on the roadside. it flows out but we're still trapping it in. >> reporter: another strategy in contrast to which allows
disabled to get out of the driver when somebody breaks down. how do you get people out? you have a. and here's 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. the wider these are, it reduces sunlight glare so you're not shining and the head lights aren't shining into your eye, which is twinl a, becoming easier. so these sk lbc the traffic at.
what is the nature of that geometry? everybody, we're going to go into math world here for a little many. after the 1930s. we talked about how it wandered right away as long as they didn't change the curves. >> road design. these are with christopher tonnard. which is a great book published in, i don't know, the '60s and '7. so if you've laid out a ror or a
trail in your grading class, one of the things you know, you have to go back pho. we haven't seen hash shorts worn --. then you connect them with aerk, that circular aircraft rg. prior to is thely 3. just like roadsment find roads and connect them up. as you go faster and faster, though, one of the things. one thing people begin to realize is this point of difficulty in driving. a new remote was presented in
the 20s to 30. you can just connect the two spirals by themselves, right? the geometry, there is no longer the there. they are different from prosthetics. difference again from tonna drrks r. tan design, here in the road. here we have a spinal curve. this tangent gives you a little kink in the road where you're meeting the curve and the expand i believe on it. and this curve creates an incredibly smooth line within
the mast. . these funny little kinks which you begin to succeed when you see this. we're thinking about an onramp from an intersection down and highway 30. this is my favorite place to experience this. interstate 35. you kind of make that little jog in your steering wheel, right? you're actually experiencing a spiral curve there. your radius is not consistent, your radius, spiral radius, changes. so we begin to pioneer new geometry to change to accommodate the vehicle accommodate new speeds. we talked about the development
of new typologies. we go from the private park 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 architecture creating new kind of landscapes which hadn't previously existed. okay. a couple other aspects about urban and regional parkways. it was used to get people from
new york to the catskills. part of the reason to create the taconic parkway was to connect the commercial stronghold of new york city to the capitol, albany, right? so people could have this convenient transportation, particularly in the 1930s prior to common air traffic, right? so urban and regional parkways easily become for commuting traffic. initially they are intrastates. they are done by a state highway commission. not a park commission but a state highway commission. other ones, we talked about baltimore and washington. if anyone has 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?
otherwise known as highway 100. it was now one of the major commuting routes in the twin cities. one of your assignments on line in your reading, in your 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, okay? and that talks about ccc construction, wpa/cwa, compression area construction of highway 100. any questions so far? we're rolling through this kind of quickly today.
nps and scenic parkways. this is in contrast to the regional and urban parkways. they're quite different because they were almost exclusively built for recreational and scenic preservation and focus. and they had much less emphasis on regional traffic patterns and shaping of urban growth patterns. in their focus they tended to be the experience of the drive and the experience of driving through a beautiful scenic area in an automobile. a couple of differences, they have generally larger rights of way. they have large rights of way usually situated in parks to provide for maximum preservation of scenery. they belt 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 and 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 interstates, but in the extreme cases, begin to link different states. design speed are slower on nps parkways, because you're not getting somewhere, you're looking at the scenery. designed also to enhance travel. there was a strong intention of
incorporating signage and interpretative signage, mostly because of the park's determination to communicate parkways. and they're very, very long. because of this they take a long time to construct. they focus on scenic preservation, and in some cases, cultural preservation. a few key examples. one of the earliest was mt. vernon memorial parkway. this was, i don't believe, actually built by the national park service though it's now managed by the national park service, but again, it was a parkway meant to take visitors from washington, d.c. to our first president's home. colonial parkway, the blue ridge parkway and the natchez trace. a couple others i would put in
this category is the great river road which runs up the coast of minnesota. it runs up the coast of mississippi from minnesota to the gulf of mexico. it 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, sacajawea -- not sacajawea -- pocahontas, right? and yorktown which is a site revolution. they said, wow, we should get into the 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, and you can see the right-of-way laid 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 capit 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's
encompassed both scenic and historic preservation so designers were kind of on the forefront. on the one hand, the access bridges, the great cross elimination structures, were designed using colonial before i can. th -- brick. they actually created a series of brickyards in virginia, so this was in the 1930s where they would create brick in the traditional colonial process, so each brick was handmade, so not machine manufactured. kind of hand craftsmanship that we talked about in terms of rustic design. you would drive down the parkway and see these colonial style, although nobody built a colonial style bridge like that for an automobile in the 1700s, but we had that sort of material
characterist characteristic. the road bed was designed in concrete and exposed to aggregate, so it has a kind of pebble texture and a yellow color to kind of mimic a historic road, perhaps, historic gravel road. although, again, it was 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 tide tidal estuaries. these were designed in concrete so when you looked down the roadway, you would see historic bridges, but if you looked out your car window, you would see modern, concrete style bridges. here's a view of one of those bridges. we can see this kind of streamlined. we talked last week about modern
architecture and the machine, these bridges were peared to reflect the machine age and if we think about the lovely she have oe. we can probably think about those two designs being similar perhaps. the cretes were demarcated. very much an experience of driving through the wooded uplands along the rivers out across tidal marshes. on a much larger scale was the blue ridge parkway. the blue ridge parkway was conceptualized as a way to connect shenandoah, great smoky
mountains, -- across north carolina and tennessee. it's 469 miles long, built in the 1930s and finally finished in the 1970s. the landscape designer followed a whole bunch of architects and engineers, one who was given the most credit, stanley abbott in the park service. he had begun his work in the 1930s on the westchester county parkway system. during the depression moved into what is national park service as a career. then 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. plantings were planted to hale roadside scars. great care was taken to design view 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, open fields and
agricultural aspects of the landscape. the project was also notable for its attempt at public relations, okay? so cutting across 500 miles, gaining property, buying property from individual farmers proved to be rather difficult. in many of these communities, people did not want to react with the g-men or the men from the government, right? so one of the things they ended up doing was 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 the parkways. blue ridge parkway finished in 1970 is one of the last major parkways constructed by the national park service. natches trace parkway in mississippi lingers on, also a 500-mile road along a former indian trail, also extensive. but by the 1970s, people weren't building parkways anymore, right? 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, and why do parkways fall off after
the 1930s? for a couple reasons. after world war ii, there is an increasing emphasis in the country on transportation. and 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. in the 1940s and 1950s, there was an engineering movement away from the pashlg way called the complete highway. i love the phase, the tag line for the complete highway movement, which is safety, utility, economy and beauty, all parts approximate competent. which sound really great, except
for the fact that there's three-quart erlz of this and one quarter is devoted to beauty. so the idea of an effective 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. that's not a tree, that's a fixed hazardous object. when you run into a fixed hazardous object, you are likely to die. and 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 by nature be beautiful. so that's how we end up with the parkway moving to freeway, throughway, expressway. so you can e see that change in the way we talk about roads. freeway, throughway, it's about speed. so roads get increasingly flatter, increasingly longer and at the same time, in the post world war ii era under eisenhower administration, people began to say, you know what, we do need better roads. e we need roads that we can connect our cities with in case of moments of great national
emergency. 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 of that road being opened. here is is what the freeway, expressway looks like in contrast to the parkway. what is it? it's the curves begin to be so flat just to be nonexistent. they become increase iingly 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.
so you're commuting back on highway 80. we have curves primarily to manage not a view shed, but a curve to manage you as driver as waking up. we eliminate the planting along the road side. because it's going to collect snow. it's going to hide view sheds. in some places particularly in cities, this is highway 94 in st. paul between minneapolis. we eliminate the planting. we sink the road so that cross traffic can conveniently move over. bridges are no longer archways constructed for anesthetic experience, but rather to be as convenient as possible. and so we have a very different change in our roadway design.
and social attitudes are change as well. you think about the parkway and the experience of joy and excitement in driving a car for a first time as a recreational activity. how many of us think about driving a car as a recreational activity anymore. we don't. it's not fun. i think my father was the last person i knew who liked to go for a sunday drive. pile the kids in the car and torture us. it was not. car trips were not recreational. so driving is no longer a gee whiz activity. so for me as i teach you teaching people some of whom are going to be architects, i think the lesson here is that with the loss of esthetic goals for the roadway comes a loss of the role for the landscape architect.
it's not something that our profession does a lot of anymore. engineers are the profession of choice, the profession of function and they are not too concerned about the esthetic concern. i think this is a loss. many people spend hours and hours of their lives on freeways and commuting. we can think about that bubble in the car that we're sitting in or we can think about the nature of the roadside along it. i think there's a lost opportunity here for taking back these environments and thinking about them as possibly an environment that's not a sterile vurmt where you're in your bubble, but perhaps it could change the way that you think about driving that road as a
designer and as a driver. what if we took just a tiny little bit more. maybe it's not 3 to 1, safety, economy, utility and beauty, but what if e we think about changing these environments so that they, too, could be productive and green. what if they jgenerated 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 into something that's more productive for the environment and more beneficial to the human beings who move through them. and i say looking back to the hay day 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" prime time, we feature our lectures in history series taking you into college classrooms across the country. each night we debut a new lecture. tonight at how the u.s. transportation system developed. we begin at 8:00 eastern with the 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," prime time tonight. "american history tv" on c-span 3 has three days of featured programming. saturday night at 8:00 eastern,
college professor oliver ro also is shares his family history about the national farm workers association. >> chavez was blowing this up. the movement of farm workers. the people at the bottom of the society were suddenly becoming engaged in fight iing for their rights, wages, working conditions, but also mobilizing for politicians. we'll talk 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. starting with john and then robert and their children. >> sunday evening at 6:00 on american artifacts, we'll visit the national security archive with its director for the 50th anniversary of the freedom of information act signed into law by president johnson. >> john moss all this it time he picked up this bright, young illinois congressman as a co
co-sponsor. donald 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 has gotten so big, it's involved in so many pieces of our life and commercial life and industrial life, social security, we need the right to get those records out of agencies to be able to uphold our own. standard living, liberty, freedom, and restrain on government. >> monday morning at 11:00 eastern, the national park service marking its 100th anniversary at arlington house. . the robert e. lee memorial. we spoke with former director robert stanton and brandon byes, house manager who will oversee a year-long restoration of the manage, slave quarters and grounds. >> we were incredibly fortunate that we were able to really tailor our specific needs for all kinds of things for the
museum objects, for telling the historian interpretation and for the physical fixes and construction that needed to happen. not just to the buildings, but to the historic grounds and gardens. we were able to present that and he generously donated $3.5 million to make that happen. >> for our complete schedule, go to c-span.org. now on lectures in history. peter norton is a history of technology professor at the university of virginia in charlottesville. up next, he looks at what's called american's love affair with the automobile exploring the impact much cars on american cities in 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 and ten minutes. >> i'd like to start, actually, with a question, and i want a
clear answer from you all about which one of these things is best. think about it a second. which one? a paper clip, a binder clip and a stapler. which one is best? asha, which one is best? >> depends what purpose you want them to serve. >> it's not that hard. which one is best? we have an intellectual in the room. i'm looking for somebody with an answer. which one is best, david? >> stapler. >> well, you're wrong. the stapler is not best. jack, which one is best? >> i like the paper clip. >> wrong again. the right answer is the binder clip. the binder clip is, in my opinion, the best. all right?
now, i will admit that if i had a 100-page document to fasten, the binder clip would be best. stapler is not going to do the job very well. on the other hand, if i want to fasten a receipt to a note, maybe i need the paper clip, so in effect i think i'm coming around to asha's answer. depends on what we're talking about here. we are up against a point of view that takes these things and says one is definitely best. our reading for today contends that the bottom device is just plain best. it is, indeed, the greatest invention. and wherever you are on a rural highway, on a city street, in a shopping mall, going to a store, going to work, that is your device.
the rest are perhaps not obsolete. after all, the author is a cyclist, but, bear no comparison to these things. well, i guess if i had to reduce my claim to a thesis, it's that, wrong, it turns out each one of these things has its place and more. and we're coming along with -- you guys are coming up with more stuff all the time. electric bicycles, for example. or high -- bus rapid transit, which we have dedicated bus lanes for buss to go faster and all kinds of things are possible, and depending on what you need, you may want to take one of these other modes. >> the people who say this is always best are the same people who, if we could ever see them trying to fasten together a 100-page document would probably be banging this with a hammer.
it doesn't make sense. it's wasteful. it's inefficient. it breaks the stapler. doesn't do the report any good. doesn't fasten the document and it accomplishes nothing. and i would suggest there are situations in which we in this country in trying to accommodate the automobile are doing essentially the same thing. i am going to recommend that you try something some time. maybe you've already done this. go to google satellite view. everybody has something on the web that kills their spare time or even kills time that isn't spare time. for me, google satellite view is a major culprit in that regard. if you go there, take a look around american cities. this is houston. i admit it's not a totally randomly chosen shot. but nevertheless, i find it striking. i am wondering, what are these people parking for? to go to another parking space? i mean, there's nothing else to go to.
there is a building in the top left corner. maybe they are all going there. but this -- that's a lot of parking. and think about parking for a second. it's land, right? and think about the thing that is most distinctly valuable in a city. it's land. what's scarce in a city. city by definition is a place of density, right? if density is what we're talking about, then land is scarce. so why don't we put a car on every 100 square feet of land in a city and then this is what you'll get. i wonder if this isn't like trying to fasten a 200-page report with a stapler and a hammer. this is houston as well. this is how the cars got to the parking lots. to get to the parking lots they went on this interstate highway. this is indianapolis. it may not immediately jump at you, but if you look carefully, you'll see that we've got a lot of surface parking here. maybe half of this picture is surface parking. surface parking lots. strange thing to do with a city. there we have tyson's corner. i think pr