Some Random Happenings in #CitiesSkylines oh and CRUISE SHIPS

Finally the cruise boats arrive

 

I have been a bit busy on the Urban Geography in real life side of the ledger meaning not much time with Cities Skylines at the moment.

 

However, I have managed to squeeze a few hours in there and there and have continued to work on the Downtown District.

The two cruise ship terminals have also finally started attracting cruise ships into the City now meaning more tourists and more revenue.

I also had to replace all my substations after an asset swap in the STEAM Workshop caused the deletion of the old model that I was using. No matter all the substations are replaced and power is flowing back into the City from Nuclear City!

 

With Downtown established and maturing I will turn my attention to Sheffield Square as well as connecting the City Centre up to the International Airport with heavy rail (it already has a monorail line running through it.

In the meantime some pictures:

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Impending Auckland Transport Mess Up With City Centre Street – This is How You Design City Centre Streets #CitiesSkylines

Match the mode for the space

Auckland Transport Executives and the Chair again prove that they are talk and no action when it comes to the livability of a City especially its City Centre. The latest from AT in regards to Customs Street having busses removed to improve the flow of cars through a core City Centre area made me shake my head at the minimum. Greater Auckland were not impressed either:

To turn Customs Street into a 6 lane car sewer will sever Britomart and the Ferry Terminal from Queen Street and the core of the City Centre that follows Queen Street to uptown. Thoroughfare traffic should be using the motorway network and Grafton Gully if people need to get from east Auckland to the Harbour Bridge and vice versa. Customs Street would become an excellent transit mall for busses and maybe Light Rail linking Britomart to Symonds Street, Fanshawe Street and the Light Rail Lines heading to Wynyard Quarter and the North Shore. Speaking of which where is 6 lanes of Customs Street cars meant to go when part of it and Fanshawe Street will reduce those lanes to make way for Light Rail.

Again Auckland Transport Executives not exactly thinking nor seeing the value of Integrated Planning.

 

Cities Skylines Urban Design Offers Lessons

While marco-level planning is what I usually do it does not mean I am going to skimp out in creating quality public spaces for my Cims and the tourists. And of course the City Centre is the prime public space.

Large roads will still be seen but they will not be running through the guts of the City Centre but rather forming the border with smaller 4 lane roads feeding into the guts of the City Centre from the 6-lane roads and then the 2-lane roads, shared streets, lane-ways, transit malls and pedestrians malls forming the interior network.

You will see 4-lane roads running through the City Centre but these roads will often contain one or more of the following:

  1. bus lanes
  2. Light Rail
  3. Cycle ways

This allows transit and service vehicles to have continued access to core of the City Centre as people, goods and even the trash have to be moved around (and out of) the City Centre.

But I am not going to put large 6-lane road or the huge 12 lane road right through the middle of my City Centre as it would split it in half causing severance (and a tonne load of noise)

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If you are wondering about this 6-laner that has two bus lanes with that runs right by the Central Station there is a reason why I have done this. First of all a large 12-platform heavy rail (with subway underneath) station to place it in the middle of the City Centre would sever the place even worse than the 6 or even 12 lane roads. So in this instance the station sits on the southern border of San Layton City Centre to which (and keeping consistent with above) a large road forms that norther border of said City Centre. Remember heavy rail is bringing in commuters from longer distances so to travel within the City Centre itself you have:

  1. Subway
  2. Bus (hence the bus lanes)
  3. Cycleways
  4. Monorail
  5. Light Rail

All which are less space intensive!

 

In any case this is the urban geographic layout of San Layton City – to which I will be focusing on the City Centre:

 

 

San Layton City is a dual-core City with multiple satellites all connected by either road or some form of transit (usually rail).

If you are wondering what the following picture and subsequent pictures like it are this is the closest I get to a Shared Space:

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While these are pedestrian or transit malls:

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Right without further ado here is 9am Sunday morning in San Layton City Centre:

 

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Monorail does look quite Gotham:

 

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Street Trees do wonders:

 

 

And now for Central Station and some big roads – oh and a sky cafe. You can also see the monorail running through the City Centre as well:

 

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And now the main road that connects the City Centre up to the Satellites further east. Centre Bank is the main leisure area on the other side of the rail station:

 

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Finally the second bit minor City Centre – Washington Heights and how that is built around a bus station. Again the larger roads form the boundaries with smaller roads often transit malls or shared spaces forming the interior network :

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This is how you outlay your City Centre. Not with big 6 lane car sewers but with public spaces and extensions of living rooms using shared spaces, pedestrian and transit malls and of course transit lanes!!!

Even 9am on a Sunday the City Centre is teeming with Cims!

 

Who Say’s I Don’t Do Green #CitiesSkylines

100% clean green power

 

There are several ways I like to keep my cities green in Cities Skylines:

  1. Power production will often come from low-carbon emitting sources including hydro or nuclear. I do use the Waste to Energy Incinerators that produce small amounts of air and ground pollution but they make up no more than 1% of total power production
  2. Recycling centres and recycling is a must
  3. EV cars are encouraged city-wide
  4. Mass deployment of mass transit
  5. Street Trees
  6. Urban Forests
  7. Green self-sustained residential buildings in some Districts

Okay that was a few more than several 😉

 

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The big two pollution emitters are power production and transport (followed by heavy industry). Heavy industry pollution is handled by urban forests and the Filter Waste policy meaning factories have to filter their sewerage before it heads out to the sewerage plants. This leaves power production and transport.

 

Power production

I follow what I preach when it comes to power production for a City. So if I say I believe in 100% (or near to it) Low Carbon Power Production then I follow through into Cities Skylines:

 

For San Layton City:

  1. 1,449MW of power is produced as electricity coming from:
    1. 1,254MW (or 86.6%) coming from two nuclear reactors
    2. 80MW from Geothermal
    3. 50MW from incinerators
    4. 65MW from on and offshore Wind turbines
  2. 400MW comes from Geothermal based bores sent through to the City as District Centralised Heating (steam or hot water)
  3. Using electricity map (and assuming the incinerators let off as much as a biomass plant) the carbon output is: 37g/CO2/Per KW or 98% low carbon – same as France as of writing this post

 

As you say when I say Green I do Green!

As for transit I invest in most modes depending on the Geography of the City. Patronage is about 50% of the population (using transit) with more using cycling. Given San Layton has two Cores connected by heavy rail and monorail with urban islands coming off of them (surrounded by pasture or forests) that are interconnected also by all forms of rail and bus it is quite easy to move around the city without the need of a car – even going to the industrial complexes.

And yes my transit system runs 24/7 on an integrated fare system. Quite interesting to see even the big 135 bendy busses straining to keep up with passenger demand at 3am in the morning of a Saturday or Sunday as the night owls like to party.

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Urban Design in #CitiesSkylines? Always! Urban Design and Transport (Integrated Planning) Evolving? I Hope So

Let’s see what I have been designing for San Layton City

 

Since Cities Skylines came out in 2015 I have been honing in my Urban Geography and Urban Design skills. That is trying out different spatial developments, different urban design techniques and most of all working the transport system in so your City does not lock up.

As a side note this is why I am using roundabouts more in my newer Cities as they do a better job in keeping traffic moving.

 

Below are two sets of slide shows both covering the City Centre and Garnet Hills. The first will be of Bus Line 16 doing its trip from City Centre to the Garnet Hills subdivision via a stop outside the newly opened San Layton Nature Reserve. The second is of aerial shots of a new extension of the City Centre and Garnet Hills itself.

One of my favourite editions to the game are the Pedestrian Mall and Shared Path assets. The Pedestrian Mall says as it does – a mall for pedestrians although it does not stop emergency service and service vehicles from using it. On a rare occasion a bus might traverse the mall but the speed limit is reduced to 20km/h. The Shared Path allows all traffic on it at a reduced speed of 20km/h and is good for when commercial is in the area and you need the goods trucks to come through. At the moment Urbanist (the creator of the Shared Path asset) only has the one-way shared path with parking available  but more variations are coming.

 

Without further-ado let’s get the show on the road:

Bus Line 16 and some wet weather

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Some aerials of Garnet Hills and the City Centre (AND  first look from the Nature Reserve):

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Finally where San Layton City is at as of 31 May 2018:

 

Next up – a rocket launch!

 

Monorail! #CitiesSkylines

Let’s try Monorail

We are all familiar The Simpsons and Monorail:

 

There is even an essay on Monorails and Urban Geography: MONORAIL: A KEY URBAN LESSON FROM THE SIMPSONS. So last night I decided for the first time in Cities Skylines to build a monorail line from the City Centre to Thorton Park halfway across the map.

At the moment the line only has two stations on it (same as the heavy rail network) as San Layton City is a very young city having only being founded a month ago (real-time).

 

None-the-less I built the line and it designed for more stations as the City expands. Once you get the 70km/h speed restriction off the train moves as fast as heavy rail allowing very rapid connections.

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 You can also see some of the first developments here:

Now to get the daily rush hour of traffic under control (caused mainly by inter city traffic rather than intra city commuting)

 

Redesigning the Transit Network #CitiesSkylines Style. Lessons for Auckland

Could Cities Skylines transit network redesign offer hints for Auckland’s poor accessibility to transit?

 

Yesterday a paper was released by MRCageny on accessibility to transit and basically how Auckland’s accessibility let alone equity to transit sucked.

The paper can be found in the Tweet below and I’ll write on this more extensively next month after the Summer Series concludes:

 

 

And yes Auckland pretty much sucks at accessibility:

 

 

I have also written on accessibility in the past over at Talking Southern Auckland when the Manukau South Link was a topical issue:

Manukau South Link catchment close up by Saeid Adli

 

Cities Skylines offers lessons

 

Having to redo your entire transit network becomes a must as your City matures and approaches larger sizes. Bus lines end up a mess as the City expands while trams don’t operate efficiently due to expanded roads and lack of priority measures. As much as you can forward plan it some days a reformat is required.

 

 

San Solaria’s bus and trams will need a reformat as they are not tying in well with the subway network and central bus stations throughout the City. Patronage use to exceed total vehicles on the road but recently it is struggling to match one-third of its previous peaks.

Route accessibility has become the problem with routes going everywhere BUT where people wanted and this has a double knock on effect. The first being less people on the transit network means more cars on the road. More cars on the road means roads and intersections are more jammed up blocking busses and trams. Given the tram and bus network was designed around San Solaria being a mono-core City but in reality it has matured into a two Core city accessibility fast becomes a problem. Also as industry expands into new complexes the population becomes more diverse in its travel patterns.

Sounds a lot like Auckland right?

 

 

 

So time to delete about 10 tram lines and 75 bus lines (some more recent ones will stay) and reformat the surface transit network!

Fun times ahead!

 

 

 

Trans City vs Local District Transit. #CitiesSkylines Lessons for Auckland

Final Part of the Series (Part 6) in Lessons for Auckland

 

In my ALL ABOARD. Light Rail Moving You Around. Lessons for Auckland post I had mentioned the two types of tram systems I run:

Four new tram lines were built with two connecting to the wider city and two travelling within the area forming a City Link type circuit. The photos below are of City Boulevard Lines 1 and two that run as a loop down the new Boulevard and through Forrest Road (one of the two east-west parallel roads). The other two lines that were later built are:

  • City Centre to Airport LRT Line. Think of it as Solaria’s City Centre to Airport via Dominion Road, Auckland equivalent with the Airport-Solarian Line (a metro/subway line) as the express Southern Airport Line).
  • Thorton Hills Interchange – City Boulevard Line. This links up the new urban area to a major interchange that serves busses and an inter-city train station

 

 

Lessons for Auckland?

Do not be afraid of Light Rail and also Light Rail is good for small intra suburb running as well as big trans-city running like Airport Lines.

Two of the four new tram lines are intra-suburb running – meaning the line runs within a single district rather than multiple districts. I can control individual line budgets meaning I can select capacity ranges from 75 to 210 passengers. As a comparison a bio-fuel bus holds 40 passengers while the bendy busses hold 130 and let off a pile of diesel fumes along the way. So rather clogging my nice new urban area up with smelly busses I can use smaller trams to move passengers around while stepping up capacity as demand increases.

Manukau City Centre and Manukau/Wiri would be a perfect example of such a Light Rail scheme that connects into a larger LRT scheme like the Southern Airport Line (Manukau to the Airport via Puhinui Station) or in Cities Skylines the two City Boulevard Lines connecting into the bigger trans-city lines.

The two bigger lines being the Thorton Interchange to City Centre Line and the Airport to City Centre LRT Line both which run through part of the City Boulevard Lines.

 

Airport and NW Lines
Airport and NW Lines Source: AKL Urban Design via Twitter Note: Not final for statioms

 

In this case these two bigger lines run through multiple districts and centres so using the big E-class tram that holds 210 passengers will be more viable (remember my biggest bus is only 130 passengers).

……..

Source: ALL ABOARD. Light Rail Moving You Around. #CitiesSkylines Lessons for Auckland

 

The rule of thumb I usually follow with transit is this:

  • Busses for short distances and feeders into major interchanges
  • Light Rail for medium distances
  • Heavy Rail (and Metro Rail with Cities Skylines) for long distances or high capacity shuttling such as a major transport interchange and a stadium

In Cities Skylines I usually follow the above rules with a couple of exceptions. From time to time I will build a busway to allow busses to do medium distance running while light rail can be used for short distance running.

 

The Laytonville Busway

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But it is the LRT system I have set up that is of more interest as it gives lessons to Auckland as we try to set up an LRT system of our own.

This map shows the transit system in San Solarian City. The dash lines are the ferries, thick lines the Metro Lines and the thin lines are the trams:

TLM_MAP_San Solarian City_2055.01.31

 

As noted before I run both trans-city tram lines and tram lines that run within a single district (local loop running). Both classes of lines connect to each other either at a common station/stop or a slight over lap of the lines in some areas (two tram lines sharing the same bit of road/track) to allow transfers.

The question is why am I using trams for shot distance running? Answer One is capacity while answer two is ambience.

Busses are smelly, noisy and hold fewer passengers compared to the trams. Don’t get me wrong busses have their place including the biofuel bus but in a large City they just don’t cut the mustard when wanting to move people between areas (and between Metro Stations).

In high ambience areas like City Boulevard, the City Centre and Laytonville having lots of busses running around isn’t my idea of fostering ambience. This is why the trams are used in local loop running like City Boulevard Lines 1 and 2.

I can control budgets of individual lines so I can determine the capacity required:

 

So for the City Boulevard Lines trams that hold 75 passengers (still more than the biofuel bus (40)) are adequate while the Trans City Lines get the big 210 passenger trams.

 

City Centre – Thorton Hills LRT Line via City Boulevard

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Airport to City Centre via William and City Boulevards

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City Boulevard Line including Forrest Street

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Lessons for Auckland?

The Northern Airport Line will be Light Rail while I am pushing the Manukau to Airport section of the Southern Airport Line to be Light Rail (Manukau to Botany will be bus).

The first is about capacity to meet demand (The Southern Airport Line intersects Manukau Bus Station and Puhihui Train Station that have heavily patronised transit lines running through them) and the second is about ambience especially in a major Metropolitan Centre like Manukau.

Manukau or rather Transform Manukau is 600 hectares in size compared to the main City Centre being around 385ha (this does NOT include Port of Auckland but does include Wynyard Quarter). Manukau is also in the middle of a large regeneration program that includes intensification and upgrades of public spaces. Manukau is also forecast to house 20,000 new residents (I say it can hold double) over the next decade or so.

Simply put given its large size busses are not going to quite cut it moving people around Manukau nor to and from it to another major employment area like the Airport. Ambience is also in play and like the City Centre having a high amount busses inside Manukau doesn’t exactly work either.

Running higher capacity trams along the Northern Airport Line through the Airport and down to Manukau via the Southern Airport Line would be Auckland’s example of my Airport to City Centre LRT via William Boulevard Line coupled with the Airport to Laytonville Metro Line.

A LRT Line doing a circuit of Manukau and Manukau City Centre linking up the main commercial area, main residential area to the south, the events centre to the south-east and AUT to the north-east would be an example of my City Boulevard Lines.

Botany Sky Train Line Revised Manukau Loop
Botany Sky Train Line Revised Manukau Loop
Botany Line AT version
The Southern Airport Line is Option 1 (Red). Source: Auckland Transport

 

Remember via budget control you can use smaller trams (that can be coupled up to make larger units as I can in Cities Skylines (75, 150, 210 (same as the single unit E-class)) to start with and up the capacity as the demand allows.

I believe in the dig once, get it right policy that New Zealand struggles with (due to our often lack of foresight). While building LRT instead of a busway for the Southern Airport Line between Manukau and the Airport is more expensive those costs are paid off pretty quickly from the demand and ambience side.

 

 

Remember the Southern Airport Line intersects the Southern and Eastern (heavy rail) Lines widening the catchment of that particular Airport Line. You also have the Manukau Bus Station that is THE PRIMARY bus and inter-city bus station for South Auckland (like Britomart is for wider Auckland). So the demand for trams will be there straight off the bat (even if we use smaller single car trams to start with that can be later connected up like our current electric trains). As for bus congestion not applying in Manukau? Well I do not want to get to that point unlike the City Centre and as I try to avoid in Cities Skylines (and when I don’t it is a mess to untangle).

Remember ambience is the name of the game and having busses trundle through Manukau is not my idea of ambience. Again LRT like my City Boulevard Lines are great for localised loop running to move people around an area – especially are large area that has many focal points like Manukau does inside its 600ha area.

Manukau Project area
Source: Panuku Development Auckland
Manukau Transform Project area
Source: Panuku Development Auckland

 

Don’t forget that budget control measure for capacity.

 

Finally and again yes placing LRT down in Manukau is more expensive than bus rapid transit but once LRT is down you will not have to dig up the area again because the busses went over capacity (often too quickly).

Let’s get it right the first time every time!

 

San Solaria City has offered quite a few lessons for Auckland. I hope you have enjoyed this cross over with Talking Southern Auckland.  I might do another cross over next year as San Solaria continues to evolve or when I start a new city on a new map.

 

Happy gaming and urbanism!

 

ALL ABOARD. Light Rail Moving You Around. Lessons for Auckland

Part Four – Moving Through the New Urban Form

In Lessons for Auckland Ctd – Proof is in the Pudding: From Motorway to a Place People Love. #CitiesSkylines we see how the urban form established itself from what was a motorway to a new urban area mixed with residential and commerce.

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The question is how to move everyone around this new area and how do we connect it to the existing urban area and its transit networks.

It would be a waste to fill the area up with cars and have those cars ruin the ambience of the area. Grade separated cycling lanes are available for shorter distance and I didn’t exactly wanted to put smelly diesel busses down the area either. Enter the trams or light rail system.

 

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Four new tram lines were built with two connecting to the wider city and two travelling within the area forming a City Link type circuit. The photos below are of City Boulevard Lines 1 and two that run as a loop down the new Boulevard and through Forrest Road (one of the two east-west parallel roads). The other two lines that were later built are:

  • City Centre to Airport LRT Line. Think of it as Solaria’s City Centre to Airport via Dominion Road, Auckland equivalent with the Airport-Solarian Line (a metro/subway line) as the express Southern Airport Line).
  • Thorton Hills Interchange – City Boulevard Line. This links up the new urban area to a major interchange that serves busses and an inter-city train station

 

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Lessons for Auckland?

Do not be afraid of Light Rail and also Light Rail is good for small intra suburb running as well as big trans-city running like Airport Lines.

Two of the four new tram lines are intra-suburb running – meaning the line runs within a single district rather than multiple districts. I can control individual line budgets meaning I can select capacity ranges from 75 to 210 passengers. As a comparison a bio-fuel bus holds 40 passengers while the bendy busses hold 130 and let off a pile of diesel fumes along the way. So rather clogging my nice new urban area up with smelly busses I can use smaller trams to move passengers around while stepping up capacity as demand increases.

Manukau City Centre and Manukau/Wiri would be a perfect example of such a Light Rail scheme that connects into a larger LRT scheme like the Southern Airport Line (Manukau to the Airport via Puhinui Station) or in Cities Skylines the two City Boulevard Lines connecting into the bigger trans-city lines.

The two bigger lines being the Thorton Interchange to City Centre Line and the Airport to City Centre LRT Line both which run through part of the City Boulevard Lines.

 

Airport and NW Lines
Airport and NW Lines Source: AKL Urban Design via Twitter Note: Not final for statioms

 

In this case these two bigger lines run through multiple districts and centres so using the big E-class tram that holds 210 passengers will be more viable (remember my biggest bus is only 130 passengers).

In the end there is no point building a nice new urban area for it only to be throttled by busses and cars. Local and inter-district routes need careful mapping out and in this case the trams were the ones that cut the mustard rather than the bus.

Also who would want their new government, shopping and residential district backed up with cars? No thanks!

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Lessons for Auckland Ctd – Proof is in the Pudding: From Motorway to a Place People Love. #CitiesSkylines

Part Three – The Urban Form Established

 

Where a motorway once was is now a thriving urban area that connects the City Centre up to the main urban area in San Solaria City.

Putting down some side streets, a lane way or five, building the tram line and placing down some Government buildings marked the coming of age of an area that was once a six lane motorway.

Some quick retrofitting of a six lane roads that runs parallel to San Solaria Boulevard to place some new tram tracks to allow the running of City Boulevard Lines 1 and 2, and the eventual cross-city routes from the Airport to the City Centre (an all stop service compared to the express service run by the Metro system (think of it as the Northern Airport Line via Dominion Road and the Southern Airport Line via Puhinui Station and the existing Southern Line)) were also done before the final zones went down.

 

Once the zones went down it was time to unpause and let the simulator run through its day-night-day cycle and the new urban area take form.

 

The tram runs I will post in a separate post.

 

But here we are the proof in the pudding – once was a motorway is now a brand new urban area that links up two formally separated areas.

The night shots:

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The day shots

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 And those lane-ways? Here is a few of them:

 

 

Yes the project was expensive and time consuming to pull off but the benefits were most definitely worth it.

Lessons for Auckland?

I hope so!

 

From the BIG DIG to New Urban Spaces. Stitching Up Two Urban Areas #CitiesSkylines

Part Two – reconnect the urban areas

 

A recap from Part One – Bury the Motorway:

Motorways, great for moving cars and trucks but boy do they take up land and create large severance in the urban form. In San Solaria City the Great Solarian Coastal Motorway was a 6-lane highway that ran east-west along the Solarian Coast connecting the city up to the wider region.

The highway was already there when I built San Solaria however, the motorway still severed the main urban area from the City Centre and Downtown.

The elevated Metro line (Light Rail) also forms a severance and will be dealt with as well as the urban regeneration continues.

But as you can see the Great Solarian Coastal Motorway is rather not that great when contributing to Solaria’s urban form?

Solution?

BURY THE MOTORWAY

 

Now for Part Two

Reconnecting the Urban Areas

First things first was to bury the elevated Metro line that also formed a severance to the urban form:

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As a result of placing the Metro line underground I was able also build three new subway stations that would allow the catchment of the respective Lines to expand. As for the foot and cycle bridges they are remaining up for the moment until the new cycle boulevards are built.

 

Next up is removing the old underpasses and connecting up the two formerly severed urban areas with new roads:

 

And now for the brand new boulevard running down what was the former surface motorway. I chose the new 4-lane boulevard that comes with tram tracks, parking and grade separated cycle lanes as not only I am planning to build a new tram line but also lots of trees, street furniture and of course new cycling facilities.

 

I had to alter the west end motorway ramps that were taking excessive amounts of space. At the same time on the eastern end I started laying down the new roads for the new urban developments:

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Now for the fun – building!

In go the side roads, civic infrastructure and parks:

 

In this case I used the alternative education facilities that came with the Greens Cities DLC expansion rather than the conventional schools from the normal game. By alternative I mean: Community School, Institute of Creative Arts, and Institute of Technology rather than Primary and High Schools, and a standard university.

And yes I also built a new set of Government Offices (and Central Park) >_<

 

The Result of the initial urban regeneration after burying the motorway?

Have a look below. Part Three – ‘Was there ever a motorway here’ will showcase the fully regenerated urban area reconnecting the old two urban areas once severed by the motorway.

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Lessons for Auckland?

Auckland has plenty of excessively wide roads that can be humanised and two motorways that can be “buried” by placing parks above them. Grafton Gully is one and State Highway 20 between the Great South Road and Lambie Drive bridges is another.

No it is never a cheap exercise reconnecting severed urban areas whether in real life or Cities Skylines life. But the investment is most definitely worth it when urban areas are reconnected and the people get to enjoy both new urban spaces from the reconnected urban form.

Part Three showcasing the fully regenerated urbanscape after burying the motorway will have lessons Auckland and other urban areas can learn. I know for sure the residents of San Solarian City are loving the new urban area so much so there is a spike in new Residential demand for the City (word of mouth works)!

 

More soon