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Hello, this is my first posting, I just became a member. My name is Marco, I am Brazilian, an architect and translator in São Paulo, Brazil.
In the context of an MD I started, I took an interest in footbridges. I'm exploring the possibility that huge ones, mega-platforms along avenues and maybe even certain roads, could be a cheap solution (maybe a temporary, but long term one), for towns like São Paulo.
Most of my colleagues seem skeptic about this. I'm told similar solutions, although at a smaller scale, have already been tried, to no avail: such platforms quickly become dirty, dangerous places and a shelter for the homeless,
I'm an enthusiastic pedestrian, so maybe this is the reason why the idea appeals to me - I can easily walk distances like eight, nine miles almost daily, Not that I dislike cars: I would buy one, if the traffic here would allow me to drive above five miles per hour!
These two facts - my walking habit and the frozen traffic - were the starting point., but as I started to analyse the subject, many other factors in favor of mega-foot bridges or platforms came to my mind:
1 - they could be a huge help during floods, caos would not take over and people could run to them, saving a few objects, when the start, and they could wait there as long as possible;
2 - they would contribute to lower the temperature, since they would cast a shadow over the asphalt and vehicles (I often wonder if the heating that cars undergo on sunny days are not an relevant factor in global warming);
3 - they might not only not become a security problem, but could be a security solution. Keeping security on top of them during business hours wouldn't be a problem, as it seems to me that ill intending individuals wouldn't feel compeled to act in a place several meters above the ground, with few exits and cameras, and as to the adjacent sidewalks, the very presence of people on the platforms would intimidate criminal acts, not to mention that policemen would be less vulnerable in such an environement, and would have a priviledge view of the sidewalks and crossing roads. The said problem of the platform becoming a ceiling for the homeless could easily be avoided, by a floor allowing the passage of rain in critical places:
4 - they could be a resource of humanizing interventions in shanty towns (our famous "favelas") in many ways;
I'm talking about many different kinds of foot bridges in design and materials, adapted to the neighborhood and contect, but there would have to be an effort to keep them on one plane, with no stairs or inclinations, for as long as possible (except obviously for accessing buildings - another feature would be that they would give direct access the first floors of buildings) . Where this would not be possible (if they had to be excessively high) then they couldsimpl y not exist. I imagine heights between 4 and 8 meters, in principle.
It would also be necessary for them to have a lavish, ludic design, or at least agreable. I see the Pont des Arts in Paris as one possible model. In other places, they would be hi-tech or rustic. And the most important: although they would be meant mainly for pedestrians (people using Segawyas would be considered pedestrians, and possibly ciclists would have their place, at least too) going from one place to another at work time, they would have to be agreable places, were one would feel like spending time reading, playing music, exercising. During work days at working hours, the necessities of regular or temporary employees would have priorrity - on week ends and holidays, leisure would have preference. People using Segaways and maybe ciclists would
I actually drew a scheme of a mega-footbridge over the Paulista Avenue in São Paulo (see the attached image - I intend to produce something on 3dsmax and Autocad as soon as possible), a very basic one, just for conveying the idea I am trying to share through the Google Earh Community, it's awaiting approval ((but it does have a human figure, if you can find it!)
I would any criticism or feedback you would like post,
Marco Juliano e Silva
www.marcjultrad.com.br (I'm also a translator)
High Line, NYChttp://www.thehighline.org/galleries/images
This comment of mine on whether the heating of the surface of vehicles and asphalt would contribute to global warming is incidental. Mega-footbridges couldn't possibly be a solution for this, they condn't cover all the streets in a town, I'm proposing them on main avenues and perhaps a few streets. But where they might have a good effect on the temperature in these few places - a peripheric advantage.