Roger Kaplan, UrbanWorks
Johannesburg, South Africa
The Grand Concourse is reconstructed by locating a Light Rail Transit system on its central axis, a new grassed median. An urban network of mixed use walkable neighborhoods, coupled with transit orientated development, will ensure a safe, efficient, healthier urban location to the benefit of all.
The Grand Concourse is dominated by an over emphasis on vehicular traffic. It is envisaged that this imbalance is redressed by creating opportunities for equitable sharing of street form, allowing for safe pedestrian and cycling use, together with a public transport system in the form of a light rail transit network.
The new light rail transit system is located on the Grand Concourse’s central axis, with vehicular access on each side. The new median is grassed as a linear park stretching the entire length of the concourse. In so doing, Louis Risse’s original idea of connecting Manhattan, via the Grand Concourse, to green open space to the north is reinforced. Bicycle and pedestrian paths are located on each edge of the median contributing to a healthier, less stressful, lifestyle. Street trees are planted throughout.
The creation of a safe, carbon neutral, mixed use walkable environment is made possible by the use of an urban system of walkable neighborhoods. A walkable neighborhood is a notional walking distance of a ¼ mile radius, comprising of a mix of affordable housing, retail, commercial, institutional, public transport, cultural and recreational land uses.
Light rail transit stops are an important feature of each center of the neighborhoods, corresponding with an increase in foot traffic generating new commercial and job opportunities for the area, additionally to increased tourism associated with Art Deco buildings. The light rail network links centers of neighborhoods via major arterial streets of the Bronx, such as the Grand Concourse.