Home > Visual Stimulus > Graphic Friday: Rethinking The Use Efficient Of Space

Graphic Friday: Rethinking The Use Efficient Of Space

Graphic Friday

A poster redesign by Aza Raskin

What do ya think, replicate this for the local context of Traverse City?

Shoot it on Cass St perhaps?

  1. Greg
    April 8, 2011 at 2:28 pm

    Not sure what the picture is attempting to show. What is it you want Traverse City trying to replicate?

  2. April 8, 2011 at 2:45 pm

    60 people, each going to work, school or play. How much space do each of them occupy up if they go by the 3 different modes of transportation?

  3. Greg
    April 8, 2011 at 4:01 pm

    Thank You for the explanation, still a little confused on why I should be concerned about how much “space” a person takes up. I would think a 300 lb man would take up more space then a 5-year old girl.

  4. Jason Jones
    April 8, 2011 at 5:48 pm

    Great Posting!

  5. Richard Miller
    April 8, 2011 at 11:27 pm

    So, how much space would 60 people take if riding Bata’s “Traverse Express” at a capacity of less than one per bus (plus driver), each single rider bus rumbling through a residential neighborhood?

    In the Traverse City context another photo is needed in the photo array above somewhere way to the left. A livable city this does not make, at least now or any time in the near future. Doesn’t do much for the air quality either.

  6. April 9, 2011 at 10:14 am

    What I think of when I look at this visual is how much our habit of driving 2-ton transportation pods directs, and literally demands, public space and associated resources. I’m reminded of the fact that playgrounds were invented in the 1930’s as cars literally took over the public right of way in our neighborhoods. Our habit pushed kids out of the way and created a new expense.

    I’m also reminded of the massive parking lots created simply to store these toys. Our Grand Traverse Mall actual has a parking lot that is more square feet than the actually mall. Is that wise use of land? Is that efficient? Is that conservative? It’s also part of the reason why it’s extremely unlikely anyone will walk from Traverse City’s Target to Home Depot: the need to provide for motor vehicles makes the space more expansive than necessary and extremely inhospitable to people.

    The same thing happens within the city when a it focuses solely on driving traffic as meaning providing for motorized traffic. It responds to increased vehicular travel by enabling and encouraging it in terms of wider streets, intersections and increased parking. This infrastructure often makes a place less human-scaled and creates related traffic issues that become increasingly difficult to solve and continue to draw on our limited resources. In the last 40-50 years, providing for cars, not for people, has become the prime concern for any city’s planning and engineering departments. Why is this? One main reason is because our cars take up a lot of space and create massive wear and tear.

    We haven’t invested in BATA. We haven’t invested (much) in infrastructure for commuter cycling. It’s no wonder many see them as under-performing. We have invested heavily in our public space to facilitate trips by single occupant vehicles and as we can see, that industry is booming. And needs a lot of space and resources–pony-up.

  7. james b
    April 9, 2011 at 2:19 pm

    I believe the graphic is supposed to make you think about how much space people choose to take up b/c they are choosing to drive a car.
    It’s not looking at how much space your body takes up, but how much space your car takes up.

  8. james b
    April 9, 2011 at 2:55 pm

    On a side note: I wonder where those pictures were taken. I bet pedestrians still own the street. No parking lots, good street life, outdoor cafe, no need to lanes or traffic lights.

    It seems like cities in Michigan and Ohio have have really let cars take over the urban fabric. Then city officials and economic developers wonder why they can’t seem to attract talent. Young people are moving to places that have vibrant, pedestrian friendly cities regardless of jobs provided.

  9. Nellie Eve
    April 9, 2011 at 4:30 pm

    Let’s do it! Is there a tall building overlooking Cass that you think you could get access to the roof of? How many people fit in the average BATA bus? Should that be the number we shoot for? Or did you want to do 60 peeps so as to be a direct replication of Raskin’s “Space taken by 60 people”? This could be a powerful image for our area if recreated locally.

  10. Richard Miller
    April 9, 2011 at 6:02 pm

    Further explanation re Bata busses. I find myself in an awkward, rather reactionary position. I fully understand the rationale for public transportation and, as a generality, I support it. But it MUST be workable and shaped to the particulars of the size and character of the communities which it is planned to serve. Present AND future need ought BOTH to be accommodated. It makes no sense to degrade viable residential neighborhoods, undermining the “part” for the good of the “whole.”

    I know, many of you are visualizing tidy little scuttle busses slipping about our city, and this is what most of BATA’s fleet appears to be. But that is not what is illustrated in the photo above and that is NOT what rumbles, twice every hour, up and down Oak Street carrying on average, yes ON AVERAGE!, a single (or less) passenger. We’re not talking about 4,000 pounds of vehicle here (you make your own estimate), we’re experiencing a highway vehicle capable of shaking the ground each time it hits a manhole in the paved street, which is longer than an average house is wide and, come summer, will be plastered with billboard advertisements flashing down the street twice an hour. So much for friendly streets and human-scaled neighborhoods.

  11. james b
    April 9, 2011 at 6:59 pm

    Yes, let’s do it!

    I think simply using a BATA bus or two would be fine. I believe it fits about 15? If each person were in a car lined up on Cass St. for a comparison, it could be a good image.

    Here’s a another good example from a smaller community…

  12. james b
    April 9, 2011 at 7:26 pm

    I’m not seeing the connection between what this picture and you’re apparent frustration with BATA’s Express route.

    Have you taken your complaints to BATA? As others have told you before, BATA has consultants helping them improve their route efficiency. Some routes will be added, removed, or adjusted. It’s a good time for them to reevaluate that route.

    Have you ridden the Express for the entire route? Are you sure there only one passenger uses it for the entire route?

  13. Greg
    April 11, 2011 at 10:39 am

    If I’m understanding more of the concept now, are you stating cars and trucks are bad because of space?

  14. April 11, 2011 at 10:47 am

    Personally, I’m not saying anything is bad. Required “space” is an aspect of the automobile society we live in that comes with consequences that we pay for and that limit other choices. The space that car-culture requires is one aspect of a complicated scenario and one I personally try to be aware of.

    Added: You might be interested in a previous post: Got Parking? Hell Yeah which looked at different estimates for the number of parking spots in the U.S. and the associated financial and environmental costs. This is directly related to, among other things, the size of these transportation machines.

  15. Brian
    April 11, 2011 at 11:56 am

    The idea of space required for cars and trucks as ‘bad’ certainly is dependent on context. I think downtown TC in the summer is a good example when the space requirements for cars has a negative impact on the area. We provide 4 lanes of space (parking and travel) for cars to circulate and force people onto the narrow sidewalks. It should be the opposite. I think that the benefits of closing down front street for the summer months would far outweigh the drawback of forcing cars to park on the edges.

  16. April 11, 2011 at 12:03 pm

    I agree about the additional graphic needed for BATA. 60 empty buses go by my house but none can stop to pick me up to take me the 14 blocks to town or to the bus station. It makes no sense! If the bus is traveling North to the bay or 8th then take passengers to 8th or the bay.. Instead they dispatch buses all over the city to pick up one person. Shoot I’d be happy just to get a ride to the bus stop at 12th street especially in the winter when I have no sidewalk or when I can’t get my walker over the snow plow piles on the ends of the sidewalks.

  17. April 12, 2011 at 9:25 pm

    Oh man, that would be an awesome experiment! Who do we talk to about closing down front st. for the summer? Is someone already on this? Perchance it would make a great Michael Moore documentary? “No Cars on Front” a summer of angry car drives and happy pedestrians. Transforming your town with zero cars or less.

  18. Brian H
    April 13, 2011 at 10:34 am

    I don’t think anyone is already on this and I’m not sure where to start, but it is definitely something to work on. I imagine we could start the experiment during the weeks of Cherry Fest. and the Film Fest. and close down the street just as they do for Friday nights. Given the number of people we see downtown during the Friday night events, and allowing restaurants to expand their seating outside for a couple weeks, this seems obvious from a business point of view.

  19. Greg
    April 13, 2011 at 10:50 am

    Why would we shut down the streets? Remember there are many people that use them for driving.

  20. April 13, 2011 at 12:46 pm

    This may surprise some readers, but I’m not actually a big fan of creating a pedestrian mall on Front St. I do support current and more frequent events though, perhaps even multi day events, that close it off to cars on occasion.

    I would like to see, if it ever needs reconstruction, the removal of curbs so that the sidewalk and street are flush. Then, when it is closed, it becomes a beautiful place that is built for people. As we do this more and more people treat it as a “public square” we may get to a point of not needing it to facilitate car movement.

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