Friday, 9 December 2011

The Triangle 2.0: A Modernist Approach

There was a time when grand infrastructure projects were all the rage.  The 1960’s modernists were the grand optimists, re-building war-flattened Britain with their Brutalist hawk and trowel.  Gone are the days of Utopian tower blocks and endless tarmac motorways, happy now for a scrap of broadband from the Coalition’s deficit depleted dinner.

There is no reason, however, that we shouldn’t show the daring of those original pioneers, if only on a smaller scale.  It is with spirit in my heart that I present to you my audacious vision for The Triangle 2.0.

Troubles afflicting The Triangle

This stretch of pavement is choc-a-bloc during the rush-hour morning, lunch and Friday and Saturday evenings.  For such a busy footway it is unusually narrow with three major pinch-points obstructing pedestrian flow: A, road crossing; B, Sainsbury’s entrance/exit; C,  the NatWest cashpoints.  With these problems to solve, I give my modest proposal, where the grey is the pavement and the cream is an aesthetically pleasing surface for bus, coach and taxi parking.

The Triangle 2.0 (click to embiggen)

A. Road-Crossing

Hmm, this is going to be harder to solve than I thought.  Let’s work backwards . . .

C: NatWest Cashpoints

NatWest Cashpoints Build-Out

Our problem here is that people need somewhere to wait and queue to use the cash-points.  A build-out is the perfect solution for this, incorporating space for cycle-parking, a bin and Jeff, the big-issue seller (red).  It also slows down traffic turning left up the hill, giving pedestrians further protection whilst maintaining sight-lines for drivers.

B: The Sainsbury’s Gyratory

Pedestrian gyratory system with guide-lines and markings

The space outside Sainsbury’s is a bottleneck, accommodating people walking past, people entering or exiting Sainsbury’s and those waiting for buses.  The gyratory alleviates these problems by providing extra space.  Bus stops are moved up or down the road, and lines on the pavement aid people in getting into the correct lane on the Sainsbury’s approach.

A: Road-Crossing (again)

This is an even more fiendish problem than the others and requires some truly modernist thinking to solve.  How do you accommodate people wishing to cross the road?  A build-out is unsuitable here because the cars need to fan-out at junction for improved flow-efficiency.  A vertical-stacking system for waiting pedestrians would be interesting, but probably unworkable.  Here’s the radical solution - reduce the pedestrian traffic itself.

The Triangle 2.0 (click to embiggen)
A shimmering spectacle in steel and glass, the aerial footways will allow people travelling past the shops of The Triangle to bypass those shuffling below.  A ramp at the north-west end brings you up to the platforms, several metres above the pavement and connected to the places you want to go to by glittering spiral staircases.  Their translucent materials let through light, whilst sheltering shoppers from the elements.

The project will be accompanied by a number of enforcement tools, including CCTV and loudhailers, barking at anyone who should dare to stop in the middle of the pavement for no reason or getting in the wrong lane.

The future is now.

Edit: If you like this article, then you'll also enjoy this discussion about JG Ballard:

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