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In the spirit of the Olympics, let’s take a look at one of Beijing’s newest Subway Stations…

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This video is of a subway station in Venezuela when the doors are opened for the first train of the morning.

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For today’s Metro Monday, we once again direct you over to our friends at Streetsfilms to view an exceptional piece on Melbourne’s pedestrian facilities. It is simply amazing to see how quickly a city can change with the right policy, perhaps Miami 21 will serve as our saving grace.

There is an invaluable lesson here. In the early 90s, Melbourne was hardly a haven for pedestrian life until Jan Gehl was invited there to undertake a study and publish recommendations on street improvements and public space. Ten years after the survey’s findings, Melbourne was a remarkably different place thanks to sidewalk widenings, copious tree plantings, a burgeoning cafe culture, and various types of car restrictions on some streets. Public space and art abound. And all of this is an economic boom for business.

Miami 21 Update: On Thursday the City of Miami commission approved the continuation of the Miami 21 project with the mapping of the quadrants. Interestingly, the only mention of this in the Herald was a recent editorial two days before the actual vote by Daniella Levine… Perhaps this is a contributing factor for much of the confusion regarding Miami 21…

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Seems like a winner to me, but our very own Coral Gables/South Miami mini lane might be the local competitor at around 700 ft…

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Continuing on our commercial focus, is buying car insurance an ecologically friendly decision? Geico seems to think so. Insure your car with Geico and they make a donation to support wildlife conservation. Imagine that? Who knew your 15 mpg SUV could provide funds to conserve wildlife? Give me a break…

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For the next few weeks, Metro Monday will take a new, commercial direction discussing some of the subtle daily reminders of auto-centric life.

In this Farmers Insurance ad, we witness a businesswoman hitch a ride to work on a garbage truck, on the roof of other vehicles, and with a mounted policeman. Aside from the absurd creativity behind this ad, there is the underlying notion that without a vehicle, mobility is impossible. Farmers isn’t that far off though, they’re promoting the likely scenario of a solitary option of transportation in her suburban neighborhood. Notice the absence of sidewalks. Public Transit doesn’t work in these settings…

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In 1911, an innovative tunnel opened in Hamburg, Germany beneath the Elbe River which featured very unconventional (and impractical) car elevators to access the passageway. The tunnel is still fully operating today, but mostly serves as a pedestrian passageway and tourist attraction. Check it out:

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Our friends over at Streetsfilms put this film together on the recent Ciclovia events in Bogota, Colombia.


Every Sunday and holiday, every week, the City of Bogotá, Colombia closes down over 70 miles of roadways to cars and let people bike, walk, talk, exercise, picnic, sunbathe, I could go on and on. Just watch the video, it’s amazing. This video comes to you via Streetfilms from the Open Planning Project in NYC.

Ah, the 1950′s, a time when the US economy was rebounding from the stresses of World War II and federal money was freely flowing every which way to rebuild a struggling economy. The most notable “achievement” which evolved from this hasty federal spending was the National Interstate and Defense Highways Act (Dwight Eisenhower Interstate System) of 1956.

As this documentary illustrates well, the 1950′s was also a time for extreme naivety, clearly shown through the future independence personal vehicles will bring to our cities. The ideas range from absurd construction techniques (an atomic reactor which creates tunnels with extreme heat) to far more absurd “new dimensions for the American highway.”

If there is one statement where the show was actually spot on, I’d say it’s this one:

“The shape of our cities will change, as expanded highway transportation decentralizes our population centers into vast urban areas. With the advent of wider, faster expressways the commuter’s radius will be extended many miles”

You can say that again…

The official video description:

An excerpt from the 1958 “Disneyland” TV Show episode entitled “Magic Highway USA”. In this last part of the show, an exploration into possible future Transportation technologies is made. It’s hard to believe how little we’ve accomplished on this front since 1958, and how limited the scope for imagining such future technologies has become. Witness an artifact from a time where the future was greeted with optimism. Note the striking animation style here, achieved with fairly limited animation and spectacular layouts.

Today’s Metro Monday come to us from our loyal reader James Good.

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