Sunday, May 2, 2010

Building a Transportation Station Hub and a Theme at the Same Time

Sometime in the near future, Evansville is going to need to build a massive one stop transportation hub. Why? Because eventually high speed rail is coming to Evansville and it won't be just one track, it will be tracks coming from Indianapolis, Chicago, St.Louis, Cincinnati/Louisville, Nashville, and Memphis. Evansville will also be the center of I-64, 41, and I-69. This is the direct result of Evansville being in an ideal location for Midwestern and U.S travel. Indiana may be the crossroads of America, but Evansville is the epicenter of the Midwest!

In earlier posts, I talked about the need for high speed rail and the idea of placing a high speed rail station under the Old Greyhound Bus Station with a Greyhound Bus museum and a mall above it. It would be nice to have the transportation hub downtown as well, but with tracks coming from 6 different cities, it may need to be placed on the outskirts. In other words, the transportation hub (non local routes) should be built out by the airport (although I don't support expanding the airport) with a bus station and a local high speed rail station downtown (local routes) with a bus terminal and hopefully a Personal Rapid Transit terminal as well.

Determining the location and design for a project like this could make or break the future of Evansville. It needs to be built so that visitors and tourists are encouraged to go into downtown Evansville. So where would I locate the transportation hub and what design theme would I use?

Going along with the idea of placing the larger transportation hub out by the airport, I would place the hub adjacent to the current rail that runs along 41. This location is close enough to the airport to build a monorail or PRT system to transport people who just got off the airplane onto the rail system. It is also close to hotels and not too far from the CSX/Norfolk Southern crossing out by baseling road where the high speed rail tracks will probably run parallel to.

At the transportation hub, you will see rail lines coming from the 6 different main cities and a connector to the airport which has a car rental company. But wouldn't this take away from my downtown location? The answer is no. At the downtown location that I have proposed, you will see a high speed rail station for those staying local. There will also be a METS terminal, seperate tracks for dinner and excursion trains, and a link to the greenway. In the future, I would install a PRT terminal that would branch out to all four sides of Evansville. I would also leave enough room to lay down tracks for commuter trains that would go to Henderson, Owensboro, Newburgh, Gibson Co (Toyota), and a few cities in Illinois.

I believe both the local transportation center downtown as well as the regional and farther transportation hub will be a huge boom to Evansville. As said in a previous post, I would put a mall and a Greyhound Bus Station museum downtown with maybe a rail museum next to them. So what design would I implement for the larger transportation hub?

When building a hub like this, it is wise to incorporate your cities theme in it. When I was out of town a few weeks ago, I picked up a brochure for Evansville with the theme, " Where the Midwest Meets." I like this idea, I like it a lot, but there are a few themes I would like to consider as well. They are...

- The epicenter of America/the Midwest
- The center of Everything
- An All-American City All The Time
- Everything Comes Through Here
- A little bit of Everything

Basically, no matter which quote you plug in, it all comes back to the same idea: Evansville is in the middle of the U.S and it has a mixture of all kinds of American themes. Going off of this belief, I have formulated an idea for a design.

At the transportation hub, there should be 4 tall pillars, one representing the North, one representing the South, one representing the East, and one representing the West. Each pillar could be a huge building or a tall thin statue similar to the Washington Monument.

In the center would be the transportation hub itself with basic stores coffee shops like you would see in an airport. Behind each pillar would be land set aside for each pillars theme. In other words, the North pillar stores would have a Midwestern theme, the South pillar stores would have a Southern theme, the East pillar stores would have a Northeastern theme, and the West pillar would have a Western theme. This design would prove to tourists and visitors that Evansville does indeed have something for everyone thus they would be motivated to stay a few days here.

Only time will tell when Evansville is ready to embrace the idea of a high speed rail regional transportation hub, but hopefully, when the time is right, it will be built correctly.

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