STRATEGIC SUBTERRANEAN UNDERPASS AND METHOD

An underpass under an intersection has a first underground level for pedestrians, accessible by one or more pedestrian accesses from the street level, a second underground level for vehicles, accessible by one or more vehicle accesses from the street level, wherein the first underground level enables pedestrians to safely cross a street underneath the intersection, and contains establishments for the pedestrians, and the second underground level provides vehicle parking. In an embodiment, tunnels connect the levels under adjacent intersections. An improved method has the steps of installing one or more pedestrian levels below ground having pedestrian accesses at selected street corners on the street above, installing establishments in the one or more pedestrian levels, and installing one or more vehicle levels below the pedestrian levels having one or more vehicle accesses at the side of streets above, wherein vehicle levels provide vehicle parking.

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Description

CROSS-REFERENCE TO RELATED APPLICATIONS

This application claims priority to U.S. Provisional Application Ser. No. 61/755,959 filed Jan. 23, 2013 the contents of which are hereby incorporated by reference.

FIELD OF THE INVENTION

The present invention relates generally to an improved method for management of city planning More specifically, the invention relates to development of strategic subterranean underpasses that revitalize business districts and improve local economies.

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

Shopping streets have problems of accessibility because of high level of promiscuity between pedestrians and motorists that slows traffic especially during rush hours. It results in inefficient use of peoples' time and excessive energy consumption because the street level is shared by pedestrians, vehicle commuters, buses and other traffic. The sharing of the road surface for crosswalks delays both the pedestrians and drivers as they wait for the other having the right-of-way.

Shoppers may avoid shopping street as it is an open air activity, subject to vagaries of the weather, and the weather can play a major role on the decision making Often to avoid inclement weather shoppers will attend at malls instead. However, the advent of malls has hollowed out shopping streets and districts within cities that are generally viewed as providing life and activity in the city, and are a source of tourists.

It is also a security concern when people cross the streets populated by vehicles. In groups, people tend to rely on the judgment of others in making the decision to cross, and vehicles may not obey the signals resulting in a collision between a vehicle and pedestrian.

Shopping space is limited to what is available at ground level and perhaps on a second level. Additional shopping store spaces which means more tax revenue for the city, and more shopping within a given area for consumers.

Space is a valuable commodity within the shopping streets area, often fought over by merchants who hope to receive the best location. For a business, location is often the most important factor. For example, Fifth Avenue in New York City, one of the top shopping streets in the world costs on average $7,500 square feet. Due to the shortage of space, the prices are bid up, often out of the range of anything but the most established enterprises.

Shopping streets are intended to be appealing to residents and tourists alike, and often combine historical buildings with modern architecture and interior design. The contrast between the old and the new offers a spectacular view for the shoppers. However, historical buildings are often protected and new development restricted, with the result that creating new space in a shopping district is relatively difficult and very expensive.

Therefore there is a need for a method of improving vehicular traffic and congestion while providing additional retail space in shopping districts.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

The present invention is directed, in part, to a method of improving vehicular traffic and congestion while simultaneously providing pedestrians/consumers with greater freedom in accessing shopping centers and stores. The methods provided and described herein install tunnel access to pedestrians at targeted street corners whereupon pedestrian consumers can descend below the street level, where vehicles are located, and allow the pedestrians to walk leisurely from shopping store to shopping store without the fear or delay of roadway and vehicular traffic.

The methods provided herein enable city planner to incorporate these methods into their city development plans which will ultimately assist in growing the local and regional economies, increase job growth, decrease pedestrian injury and fatalities and decrease overall vehicular traffic and congestion on the roadways, thus, decreasing the amount of air and noise pollution generated by idling vehicles.

An improved method of city planning and urban development has the steps of installing one or more pedestrian levels below ground having pedestrian accesses at selected street corners on the street above, for enabling allow pedestrians to traverse by foot to a second basement level underneath vehicles in traffic, wherein said vehicles are unimpeded by pedestrian traffic, wherein said pedestrians are not required to cross streets, and wherein said pedestrians access desired shopping centers and stores via said tunnels and tunnel accesses, installing establishments in the one or more pedestrian levels, and installing one or more vehicle levels below the pedestrian levels having one or more vehicle accesses at the side of streets above, wherein vehicle levels provide vehicle parking

In one embodiment a further step of installing pedestrian tunnels to connect pedestrian levels under adjacent intersections is added. Another embodiment adds the step of installing vehicle tunnels to connect vehicle levels under adjacent intersections. A further embodiment adds the step of having first and a second vehicle accesses wherein the first vehicle access is for ingress of vehicles to the vehicle level, and the second vehicle access is for egress of vehicles from the vehicle level.

The first vehicle access may be on a first side of the street having a traffic direction and the traffic direction flows into the ingress, and the second vehicle access may be on an opposite side of the street having an opposite traffic direction, such that the traffic from the egress flows into the opposite traffic direction. In one embodiment the vehicle ingress and egress each consume three parking spots on the street. In one embodiment the further step of identifying a shopping street having crosswalks is added.

An underpass under an intersection has a first underground level for pedestrians, accessible by one or more pedestrian accesses from the street level, a second underground level for vehicles, accessible by one or more vehicle accesses from the street level, wherein the first underground level enables pedestrians to safely cross a street underneath the intersection, and contains establishments for the pedestrians, and the second underground level provides vehicle parking

The underpass may have tunnels connecting the pedestrian levels of adjacent intersections, and tunnels connecting the vehicular levels of adjacent intersections. In one embodiment the second underground level is accessed by first and second vehicle accesses, the first access for ingress of vehicles, and the second access for egress of vehicles from the second underground level. The pedestrian accesses may be selected from the group consisting of ramps, stairs, escalators and elevators.

The establishments may be selected from the group consisting of commercial establishments, educational establishments, community establishments, and entertainment establishments, and the second underground level may have commercial establishments accessible by vehicle.

The vehicle ingress and egress may be on the same side of the street, or on opposite sides of the street. In one embodiment each of the vehicle ingress and egress consumes three parking spots on the street. In an embodiment the one or more pedestrian levels are lined with commercial establishments, and the one or more vehicle levels have commercial establishments for vehicles.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

FIG. 1 depicts the invention used on adjacent street intersections in a population-dense area.

FIG. 2 depicts an overview of the basic configuration of the invention with a pedestrian tunnel on the first underground level and a vehicle tunnel on the second underground level.

FIG. 3 depicts a broad overview of an intersection having pedestrian entrances to the underground tunnel.

FIG. 4 illustrates a shopping street with vehicle entrance and exit for vehicle access to the vehicle level.

FIG. 5 illustrates the tunnel layout below the street level, connecting adjacent intersections.

FIG. 6 illustrates a detail view of the tunnel sections.

FIG. 7 illustrates an embodiment of the invention wherein the vehicle entrance and exit are both on one side of the street, and the pedestrian access is on other sides.

FIG. 8 illustrates an embodiment of the invention wherein pedestrian accesses include stairs and ramps for wheelchairs.

FIG. 9 illustrates a side cutaway view of the invention showing pedestrians crossing underneath roadways in a tunnel accessed at targeted street corners. The second level is for vehicle parking.

FIG. 10 illustrates a side cutaway view of the invention showing pedestrians crossing underneath roadways in a tunnel accessed at targeted street corners. The second level is for vehicle parking with ramps for access.

FIG. 11 illustrates an embodiment of the invention wherein pedestrian accesses include stairs and ramps for wheelchairs.

FIG. 12 illustrates a top-down view of the intersection wherein vehicles access by ramps and pedestrians use dedicated pedestrian access.

FIG. 13 illustrates a few city blocks with intersections connecting them, with the invention in use on a number of adjacent intersections.

FIG. 14 illustrates an embodiment of the layout of the pedestrian level underground.

FIG. 15 illustrates a cut-away view of the underground pedestrian level below the vehicles waiting at the intersection.

FIG. 16 illustrates a number of intersections incorporating the invention, wherein the tops of buildings are used for green growth.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE INVENTION

The present invention provides an underpass and an improved method.

Modern cities are synonymous to movement because nothing should stand still; therefore, urban planning should never favor pedestrians over motorists in shopping street, and there should be accommodation for both because motorists count among the best shoppers. Traffic must be fluent in everywhere at any time, including shopping street area. To accommodate equally motorists and pedestrians in the shopping street, the urban design has to put focus on spatial segregation where there should be less promiscuity between motorist and pedestrians.

A sustainable and viable shopping street should rely, at 20% of its economy, on its own residents that means, at the upper floors in each building, having luxury rental apartments available for young professional couples.

It is therefore, a primary object of the present invention to provide an urban plan for shopping street should focus on design that, incorporates sidewalks and underpasses into the urban fabric; improves the flow of traffic by promoting spatial segregation between motorists and pedestrians; builds the infrastructure for a complete spatial segregation where pedestrians will have a convenient alternative to crossing the street; attracts more visitors day and night onto the shopping street area; contributes to a festival atmosphere; creates a link between sidewalks and underpasses along the street, landscape and city lights; creates a viable and vibrant community where people can study, work, play, and shop.

The high price of space in shopping streets explains the necessity to have the best team of managers to control its sustainable development because it contributes to a good percentage of the city tax revenue. Where the City urban planners take advantage of every available space in the shopping street to make it more attractive, more secure and more profitable for the citizens, there is less pressure to raise taxes and the money saved is used to boost the economy within the community.

In an attempt to try to inspire the city authority for a bolder approach about urban planning of the shopping streets, the alternative urban planning that is put forward in this study has proposed a new trend in urban planning in order to revitalize shopping streets.

In a preferred embodiment, the strategic development plan for shopping streets around the world is part of a project to revitalize the social and economic network of the business sector and to improve the quality of life for people living within the area. To begin, it promotes physical activity with new corridor of many kilometers of sidewalks where people can walk and shop without having to share space with motorists. Second of all, it creates a festival atmosphere that tends to attract more shoppers inside the shopping street perimeter with animated underpasses. Finally, it allows the city to raise more tax revenue by creating or making new rental commercial spaces with each underpass that can attract tenths of new shopping stores.

The claimed method allows a better integration of the two predominant transport modes, walking and driving which are the economic engine of any shopping street, in favoring spatial segregation between the pedestrians and the motorists. It also allows a more vibrant city with new buildings that create a large corridor (in one embodiment of approximately 2 m width) that connects the underpasses from one and another; so, people can walk and shop inside, in summer as well as in winter. It also promotes future building above the underpasses with green roof equipped with solar panels where people can, for example, grow fruits and vegetables in order to put in place a more sustainable economic system.

The purpose of the invention is to make shopping districts and shopping streets safer and more efficient by organizing the traffic and pedestrians to follow separate, mutually-exclusive paths: shoppers use an underpass at the intersection instead of crossing the street crowded with motorists, wherein pedestrians are attracted to the underground space by commercial establishments and festival atmosphere with the participation of local artists, that is available in all seasons. It will result in higher tax revenue by creating more commercial space under the shopping street, and improvements in the safety of the citizenry by improving the street safety.

The present invention addresses a long-felt need and addresses short comings in the prior art. Commercial space is a very expensive and rare commodity along the shopping street, besides its high value in the market economy, shopping street poses a security concern for family with young kids due to the omnipresence of the motorists at the street intersection.

For example, the promiscuity between motorists and pedestrians at street intersection jams the traffic and creates a lot of frustration among users of the street space. The strategic development plan for shopping streets around the world has solved all of these problems by implementing a pedestrian path with underpass at every intersection to allow a link of continuity along the shopping street so a family with children will not need to share space with motorists who, in return, will enjoy a better flow of traffic. Pedestrian lights may be eliminated entirely. As envisioned herein, in another preferred embodiment, the invention also acts as an incentive to attract pedestrians to use the underpasses at the street corner, a festival atmosphere is created with the presence of shopping stores and showroom for local artists to perform right under the intersection. The pedestrians may be prevented from crossing at street level so that they access the underground spaces.

Turning now to the substance of FIGS. 1 to 16 and the preferred embodiments of the invention. FIG. 1 depicts the invention shown below intersections 2 of a population-dense area, wherein the pedestrian level 8 below ground is for pedestrians. The areas below intersections 2 are connected by tunnels 10. Pedestrian access 12 in the form of ramps or stairs enable pedestrians to access the pedestrian level at intersections 2, while traffic 15 passes. The methods provide for optimal space planning for better access of pedestrians in the shopping districts.

With reference to FIG. 2, one or more levels exist below the street level, such as a pedestrian level 8 accessible to pedestrians by access 12 such as ramps or stairs, with vehicle access 22 via ramps to a separate vehicle level 18. In this embodiment, the people are located at −1 level, with the cars at −2 level below ground. The lower levels may be made available to cars for car-accessible commercial space and parking The pedestrian level 8 may contain common space for entertainment or walking about, as well as commercial access and storefront space for commercial activity. The vehicle level 18 may have drive-through or other commercial establishments as well, for access by the vehicles by means of vehicle access 22. The street intersection 2 is located above the pedestrian level 8. The underground nature of the space provides shelter from the elements, and is suitable for both warm and cold climates.

FIG. 3 depicts a top-down view of an intersection having pedestrian access 12 on one axis of the intersection and vehicle access 22 on another axis of the intersection 2.

FIG. 4 illustrates an embodiment of the improved method of city planning In FIG. 4a is shown a shopping street, wherein an access 12, 22 may be implemented with the elimination of 3 parking spaces 9 on each side for a total of 12 parking spaces 9 on both sides of the road, on either side of the intersection. In the embodiment shown, two of these are pedestrian access 12 and two of these are vehicle access 22. Parking to replace these spots may be created underground, accessible by the vehicle access 22.

FIG. 5 illustrates the tunnel access wherein each intersection is connected to an adjacent intersection by tunnels 10. A single tunnel 10 may be used, or two adjacent tunnels 10, each tunnel carrying traffic in one direction, with the separation between tunnels providing structural support. Each pedestrian level 8 can have its own vocation depending on the activity favored by the shopping center. As shown, in the pedestrian level 8 has an adults-only area 24, such as a nightclub, and age restrictions are enforced during opening times. Moving adults-only areas to below ground beautifies the shopping street and enables the shopping street to become more family-oriented, while allowing closer control of population related to adult activities. Shopping stores or kiosks 25 may line the pedestrian levels 8 and tunnels 10, and a central space 26 that can be used as a show room, cafeteria, stage for local artists or other activities. There are hallways 28 around the side of the central space 26, and the central space 26 may also be open and accessible for walking through. In one embodiment the common area are kiosks or stores to provide greater commercial floor space from the belowground area. Specifically, more designs, such as a metro transport system can be designed to incorporate the invention. FIG. 6 shows a detail view of the second underground parking level, showing the parking spots on either side of the tunnel 10.

FIG. 7 shows an embodiment of the invention implemented in a shopping intersection 2, wherein vehicle access 22 appears at the side of the directional lane so a driver can simply turn off and descend to the vehicle level for parking underground. Pedestrian access 12 is on all other street corners so pedestrians have easy access to shopping and entertainment on the pedestrian level below, and my safely cross the street. Underground are shopping stores and a showroom as an incentive for pedestrians to use the tunnel access versus crossing at the street corner. In one embodiment, the street may forbid crossing to force pedestrians to use the tunnels, to ease traffic flow which can be held up by pedestrian crossings.

FIG. 8 illustrates a top view of an intersection exhibiting the invention. Pedestrians enter the pedestrian level 8 through pedestrian access 12, which may consist of ramps 19 or stairs 20. In this embodiment, pedestrian access is only available on one side of the street 28, which configuration may be chosen for further parking spaces 9 on the far side of the street 28, or if the street 28 is one-way.

FIGS. 9 and 10 show cut-away view of the underground levels 8, 18 of the invention, at perpendicular views to each other. FIG. 9 shows the pedestrian access 12 through ramps taking pedestrians to the pedestrian level 8 below the intersection 2. Below the pedestrian level is the vehicle level 18 for parking and vehicle services. The vehicle access 22 ramps to the vehicle level 18 are perpendicular to the orientation of the pedestrian access 12, and accordingly the vehicle access 22 is not shown as it is oriented into and out of the figure, towards the viewer. In FIG. 10, the vehicle access 22 is shown with the pedestrian access in the same plane thereto, which has benefits of reduced space requirements and construction costs. Specifically, the illustrations show pedestrians crossing underneath roadways in a tunnel accessed at targeted street corners. In this embodiment, there is no 3rd level basement.

FIGS. 9 and 10 illustrate the three-tier embodiment envisioned for the improved method, wherein each level provides for a type of pedestrian and motor-related traffic. At the street level, cars and shopping pedestrians share the streets. At the −1 level underground, the pedestrian level 8 is shown wherein the accesses 12 are present at the side of the intersections, and tunnels 10 link intersections Lining the inside of the pedestrian level 8 is commercial space, which can be used by shopping pedestrians. The pedestrians can travel underground for long distances by means of the tunnels 10 (shown in FIG. 5), as far as the tunnels extend, in order to avoid rain and cold weather. As they travel these distances they will patronize the commercial establishments that are located within these corridors. In the −2 level underground, the vehicle level 18 is accessible only by car ramps and provides parking and other commercial automotive services. There may be an elevator or stairs (not shown) to provide vehicle occupants with access to the pedestrian level 8. The underground parking of the vehicle level 18 has the benefit of freeing parking on the roadway for more moving lanes of traffic, so as to avoid expensive street widening construction when traffic outgrows the street volume and congestion results.

FIG. 11 shows a top view of another embodiment of the present invention. FIG. 12 shows the invention is use, with cars and other vehicles using the vehicle access 22 to access the vehicle level 18, and pedestrians using the pedestrian access 12 to access the pedestrian level 8. In this embodiment, there are only two vehicle accesses 22 to the vehicle level 18, on opposite corners from one another, a first vehicle access 22a for vehicles entering and another vehicle access 22b for exiting vehicles.

FIG. 13 illustrates a top view of a neighborhood. Specifically, the illustration shows a top view of several blocks with some intersections 2 featuring the invention. The neighborhood may contain a park 35 and a community pool 36. A public school 37 and a shopping street 38 are also nearby. A single underground level underpass may be present at intersection 40, in order to augment the shopping area with heated shopping for wintertime. Parking near the shopping street at intersection 42 may be augmented by a two-level underpass including parking on a second level. A single underground level underpass may also be present near the park 35, community pool 36 and public school 37, in order to protect children who need to cross the street from vehicular traffic. These areas benefit from a certain population density due to the high rise apartment buildings around, and pedestrians are employing use of the tunnels, thus decreasing vehicular traffic on streets and roadways.

FIG. 14 illustrates a layout for the commercial space within a pedestrian level 8. The pedestrian level 8 is surrounded by walls 30 of concrete, built into the ground. Shopping stores or kiosks 25 may line the pedestrian levels 8 and tunnels 10, and a central space 26 that can be used as a show room, cafeteria, stage for local artists or other activities. There are hallways 28 around the side of the central space 26, and the central space 26 may also be open and accessible for walking through. The central space may be a larger commercial establishment, for which advertising may be present on the surface to indicate the presence of the commercial establishment. In a residential area, a corner store or community centre may be present underground, and monitoring can be assured by video surveillance so authorities may maintain order and parents may monitor their children on the way to and from school.

FIG. 15 shows a further view of the pedestrian level 8, with pedestrian access. The adjacent buildings 32 may be in communication with the pedestrian level 8 to allow people to cross the street without having to step outside. Depending on space requirements, there may be more than one pedestrian level and more than one vehicle level 18, for example levels −1 and −2 for pedestrians and levels −3 and −4 for vehicle parking and vehicle services.

Specifically, the underpass and tunnel accesses may be applied around public places where children are present. School crossing guards would not be necessary where a safety underpass is located. In one embodiment, such an underpass is only accessible every 3rd block, or every few block. Several underpasses may be connected by means of tunnels.

These are targeted for schools, public parks and local public streets. The motivation for constructing such a multi-level underpass in a family area may come from the building of a corner store or community center, for example. The underpasses and the area may be monitored by closed-circuit camera, or live cameras on the Internet.

FIG. 16 shows a top-down view of the invention located at intersections 2, wherein buildings have greenery on top to provide a further environmental benefit.

Certain advantages can be obtained in utilizing the present invention. Foremost, the invention allows safe coexistence of pedestrian and vehicular traffic in a shopping area. It also provides the further benefit of more commercial space in locales attractive to businesses but with limited growth potential due to historical buildings, for instance. Further benefits are shelter for pedestrians from foul weather, and further social interaction as a result of passing through underground passages.

Although the invention has been described with reference to the above examples, it will be understood that modifications and variations are encompassed within the scope of the invention. Accordingly, the invention is limited only by the following claims.

Claims

1. A method of installing an underpass below a street intersection, comprising the steps of:

a. installing one or more pedestrian levels below the street intersection having pedestrian accesses at selected street corners, for enabling pedestrians to access the one or more pedestrian levels underneath the street intersection, wherein said vehicles at the street intersection are unimpeded by pedestrian traffic and pedestrians are not required to cross streets;
b. installing establishments in the one or more pedestrian levels, wherein said pedestrians access establishments within the one or more pedestrian levels; and
c. installing one or more vehicle levels below the one or more pedestrian levels, the vehicle levels having one or more vehicle accesses at the side of streets above, wherein vehicle levels contain a vehicle parking area.

2. The method of claim 1 further comprising the step of installing pedestrian tunnels to connect pedestrian levels under adjacent intersections.

3. The method of claim 1 further comprising the step of installing vehicle tunnels to connect vehicle levels under adjacent intersections.

4. The method of claim 1 further comprising the step of having first and a second vehicle accesses for the one or more vehicle levels, wherein the first vehicle access is for ingress of vehicles to the vehicle level, and the second vehicle access is for egress of vehicles from the vehicle level.

5. The method of claim 4 wherein the first vehicle access is on a first side of the street having a traffic direction flowing into the ingress, and wherein the second vehicle access is on an opposite side of the street having an opposite traffic direction wherein the egress flows into the opposite traffic direction.

6. The method of claim 4 wherein the vehicle ingress and egress each consume three parking spots on the street.

7. The method of claim 1 further comprising the step of identifying a shopping street having crosswalks.

8. An underpass under a street intersection, comprising:

a. a first underground level for pedestrians, accessible by one or more pedestrian accesses from street level;
b. a second underground level for vehicles, accessible by one or more vehicle accesses from street level
wherein the first underground level enables pedestrians to safely cross underneath the street intersection and contains establishments for the pedestrians, and the second underground level contains a vehicle parking area.

9. The underpass of claim 8 further comprising tunnels connecting the pedestrian levels of adjacent intersections.

10. The underpass of claim 8 further comprising tunnels connecting the vehicular levels of adjacent intersections.

11. The underpass of claim 8 wherein the second underground level is accessed by first and second vehicle accesses, wherein the first access is for ingress of vehicles, and the second access is for egress of vehicles, from the second underground level.

12. The underpass of claim 8 wherein the pedestrian accesses are selected from the group consisting of ramps, stairs, escalators and elevators.

13. The underpass of claim 8 wherein the establishments are selected from the group consisting of commercial establishments, educational establishments, community establishments, and entertainment establishments.

14. The underpass of claim 8 wherein the second underground level has commercial establishments accessible by vehicle.

15. The underpass of claim 11 wherein the vehicle ingress and egress are on the same side of the street.

16. The underpass of claim 11 wherein the vehicle ingress and egress are on opposite sides of the street.

17. The method of claim 8 wherein each of the vehicle ingress and egress consumes three parking spots on the street.

18. The underpass of claim 8 wherein the one or more pedestrian levels are lined with commercial establishments.

19. The underpass of claim 8, wherein the one or more vehicle levels have commercial establishments for vehicles.

20. The underpass of claim 8, wherein the underpass replaces crossing guards and traffic controllers at intersections.

Patent History

Publication number: 20140205376
Type: Application
Filed: Jan 10, 2014
Publication Date: Jul 24, 2014
Inventor: Frank DERENONCOURT (Montreal)
Application Number: 14/152,964

Classifications

Current U.S. Class: Road System (e.g., Elevated, Interchange) (404/1)
International Classification: E01C 1/04 (20060101);