Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Grass Track on the T Willie?

This post got me thinking, what if they would have put in a grass track on the T-Willie? Could we do it on Geary?

Flickr Photo by SFCityscape

Vs.


Photo from Mellow Monk.

Some of my favorites from Tram photog Neitech in Nordbrand Germany.



Via CNU

15 comments:

toast2042 said...

That's freakin' sweet! Of course, the city'd have to be willing to actually put in dedicated transit first... (That could be an issue 'round most parts)

Pedestrianist said...

Or maybe on the D-DivisionOf course there are water issues in California, but some nice native plantings/hardy weeds could be kept looking nice, I bet.

I'm all for it!

jwb said...

What you notice is the complete lack of signals for the train in the Europe shots. Here in the States it's important for the train to hit a red signal every 100 feet.

Avery Smith said...

Those grass lanes are really cool. Another European grass concept we should adopt is grass parking lots, such as http://www.flickr.com/photos/heyitsme_23/1254624063/in/set-72157594333514982/ this is Switzerland.

Dave said...

I would love to see something like that in Portland; the Willamette Valley is the "grass seed capital of the world" after all! ;-)

Matt Fisher said...

Correctly, that place Nordbrand is actually Nordhausen. I like the idea very much. Why aren't they doing it?

Anonymous said...

water supply issues should stop a grassy median from being a reality. Remember water IS an issue in semi arrid CA and nature "should" be respected. It's time for a new water awareness. Really. Unless you want to pump out of the bay...

Pantograph Trolleypole said...

Why not use grey water? You're right though, water is an issue.

David Adams said...

Don't forget New Orleans: http://www.canalstreetcar.com/photos/200711/stcharles2007111003_500.jpg

Jamie said...

I like it, but it would have been a disaster. Think of the watering infrastructure (grey or not) it would have been a pain in the ass. - Could you imagine the outcry if service was delayed by irrigation repair work? SFMTA has a hard enough time with the overhead lines.

I completely agree that the role of the transit agency should not be just assuring service, but in appropriately integrating service facilities to neighborhoods. It would have been beautiful and would have made the corridor a more interesting place... Alas.

Potential PR disaster + additional expense = No thank you.

We'll see if the planners learn from this on the BRT lines. Grasscrete anyone?

Ian said...

i wonder if this is limited to low-floor trams, or if {faster} light rail vehicles could run on grassy tracks too... it might be a nice addition to SMART in the north bay, since there will be a bike path next to it.

i bet we could find a good CA native that would work... might look a little more brushy, but there must be something.

i loved these in lyon so much, without the rails it would be a great picnic spot... and damn does it beat the tracks down by SF state, which look like trash.

Matt Fisher said...

No, I don't think "grasscrete" would work. It's just gonna be run over. Ha ha. :)

But that "Ha ha" I wrote in is not like Nelson Muntz in the Simpsons and his catchphrase, "Haw haw!"

In fact, what I call full light rail is what most of the new installations in North America are like, as well as German Stadtbahn installations. And here's one example of where grass track can work. This one is in Hannover.

I don't think busways use grass over the pavement, by the way.

Bowen said...

I like the idea of using permeable surfaces and reducing the impact on waste water management, but grass if a difficult one to accept. Green grass that is perpetually managed is very hard on the environment as it usurpes nutrients, requires immense amounts of water, and is in a constant state of growth (which is unnatural in itself). Here's a great article from the New Yorker on the impact of grass/lawns on our environment, thought this was pretty foundational in changing my perspective.

http://www.newyorker.com/arts/critics/books/2008/07/21/080721crbo_books_kolbert?currentPage=all

As i don't want to be just a naysayer, i believe low-lying native plants may be a solution or a permeable surface that allows a more natural flow of water into the ground system, non-waste water.

Christof Spieler said...

It seems likely now that Houston will have grass track on the Uptown line, where the local management district will pick up the maintenance cost.

njh said...

I like grass because it's sound absorbing as well as nice looking and car detering. I wrote a blog post about this a while ago:
http://njhurst.com/aether/blog/01205369922