Rebuilding Place in the Urban Space

"A community’s physical form, rather than its land uses, is its most intrinsic and enduring characteristic." [Katz, EPA] This blog focuses on place and placemaking and all that makes it work--historic preservation, urban design, transportation, asset-based community development, arts & cultural development, commercial district revitalization, tourism & destination development, and quality of life advocacy--along with doses of civic engagement and good governance watchdogging.

Tuesday, September 30, 2014

AMF Monorail (postcard), 1964-1965 World's Fair, New York City



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Updated:  a commenter points out that I am behind the times in knowing about the current state of practice with regard to monorails, of which there are a number in Asia, at Walt Disney World in Florida of course, etc.  

The Wikipedia list of monorail systems, while incomplete, is a good place to start, as is the general page on monorails.
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Of course, in various blog comments and other venues, people still argue that monorail is the future.  

Although the Wuppertal Suspension Railway system in Germany is cool-looking and the only substantive monorail system in the world--the Seattle system is very short, and not really transportational, more for tourists, although Seattleites did pass referenda supporting the system's expansion and the Las Vegas system went through a bankruptcy, but still runs.

I suppose you could argue just like streetcar opponents do, that monorails are 19th century technology too (the Wuppertal system started construction in 1897, but didn't open til 1901).

In either case, it would miss the point, as it's not when the technology first was introduced that matters--e.g., automobiles are 19th century technology too--but how the mode functions now that matters.

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2 Comments:

At 9:43 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

No need to rehash pro or con arguments about monorail. They can be a good solution, but only in *very* exceptional circumstances when economics, land use, property value, and sometimes topography all converge just right, meaning almost never. You're totally correct about how the mode functions is what matters.

However, the claim that Wuppertal is the only "substantive system in the world" is way off. There are larger and more extensive systems in China and Japan, and several others mostly in Asia. Even Walt Disney World's system is longer overall, and has more lines than Wuppertal (but fewer stations), and probably close to double the daily ridership.

Many systems are under construction, mostly in Asia, but two lines are also underway in Sao Paulo, both of which will be longer than Wuppertal's one line. In the scheme of things Wuppertal is sort of the granddaddy, but an outlier since it (like the demo AMF system at NYWF'64) is not the design type that was widely adopted.

 
At 6:17 AM, Blogger Richard Layman said...

Guess I am out of the loop about current developments.

,,, although I did think about mentioning the Disney iteration, which is transportational, but intra-campus, even if on a large scale.

Thanks.

 

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