by Matt Grubel, Chris Leswing and Michael Nairn
On November 26, 2006 the FoCP Board adopted a revised Design Program for ‘A’ Park circulation to be brought to the architect. The revised Design Program reflects the recommendation of the Planning Committee.
Recommendation for ‘A’ Park Pathway Design – Overview
In response to the November 15 public presentation on the ‘A’ Park design, a revision of the proposed pathway design was developed. It places a greater emphasis on the diagonals, creates larger green spaces, improves drainage, and provides appropriate limited access for vehicles. We think this is a win-win, taking the concepts proposed by SC and the needs of the comunity and integrating them into a sustainable program.
Major features of the modified design are as follows:
Pathways support diagonal flow of pedestrians from 44th and Baltimore Avenue to the playgrounds and USP south of Chester Avenue, and from 43rd and Baltimore to Chester Avenue west of the HMS School.
Paths lead to a pedestrian crossing into ‘B’ Park.
Larger contiguous areas of green space are created.
The central plaza becomes linear. This makes it even more of a link connecting the Dickens statue and the Gettysburg stone. It creates a zone suited for chess playing area, for large gatherings like May Fair, and centralizes services and access needs.
The central plaza incorporates an effective, long term, storm water management system.
Components of this design can be funded and installed in phases.
Emphasizes ‘A’ Park as more a formal area with generally passive use. It also provides a hierarchy of spaces to encourage a range of activity from fairs to chess to story telling, volleyball to sunbathing; places to gather and places to be in solitude.
Paths work with natural contours and existing healthy trees.
Issues Raised During Public Presentation Nov. 15, 2006
Summary of questions and points raised directly or indirectly as a result of the presentation by Peter Simone of SC. These are organized by topic and relate to those that might Planning Committee may wish to address.
Design of Pathways in ‘A’ Park
A. Pedestrian Crossing of Chester.
Where are the most appropriate location(s) in terms of safety ?
How much leeway or range is available in terms of placement?
What crossing indicators and traffic calming should be planned for, and what could be implemented quickly in the short term?
B. Circulation and use patterns.
Destination traffic – Where do people go and how do they get there?
Program locations – Identify the space and settings on the drawings
Volleyball – does not have to stay where it is – may not work well with proposed expansion of Gettysburg stone into a plaza. (Court size is approx 60′ x 30′ (18 m x 9 m), with recommended free area around it of a 9’10”.)
Story telling – turtle – does not have to stay where it is – but needs a space.
May Fair – location of stage – access to set up
Should the Planning committee make further recommendations regarding space and path locations?
Should the planning committee provide further input on space uses? eg. chess table arrangement, flagpole, room for stage for Mayfair, etc.
C. Support and Infrastructure.
Are slight walkway realignments worth the risks and costs?
Find out what the overall widths, GVWs, and axle loads are for the various expected use vehicles – also determine proposed access to reach destinations and exit. Will the base recommended and porous asphalt survive under this use?
Consider the idea of limiting vehicle access (through program planning and phyical barriers).
Does the current location of underground utilities need to be considered? All? Some?
Drainage – low spots. Identify the locations and compare with proposed plans.
D. Design Issues.
Review the entrance and approach to the ‘centerpieces’. Should Dickens & Nell, and the Gettysburg stone be treated as proposed? Does it make sense to keep the ground cover fencing? How much spare fencing do we have in storage?
Are the tree removals proposed going to be an issue? Do they make sense with respect to current tree plans?
Design Program for the Revised ‘A’ Park Pathway Plan
Goal: Design a functional circulation system that can sustain event activities on paved surfaces and expand green areas for a range of passive to recreational park activities.
Primary pedestrian circulation is oriented around a diagonal axes that runs NE/SW and SE/NW. At least one of these axis should be able to accommodate service and event vehicles.
A secondary circulation path accommodates movement within the Park. These paths form an internal loop and should be shifted to the periphery to create large undivided green spaces. These paths should be off limits to vehicles – primarily pedestrian use.
The central plaza becomes longer and narrower, creating a wide promenade that connects the Gettysburg Stone and Dickens Statue. This a NW/SE axis becomes a strong gathering area. Underground stormwater management should be incorporated into the design of this axis.
In the layout and detailing of the NE/SW axis, the design preserves as many significant trees as possible and utilize existing impervious areas where possible.
The design acknowledges that trees will be lost, but seeks to preserve as many significant trees as possible. Emphasis is placed on maintaining the periphery areas with large trees (and replacing as they are lost). Further within the park, the option remains to replace trees naturally lost, or to open up the interior to provide light to support turf growth. With those parameters, paths are routed away from significant trees and toward failing or undesirable trees.
Sight lines from 43rd Street Sidewalk to catch Eastbound trolleys to be kept open. (That is, to see the trolley approach on Chester Avenue about 47-46th Street, at the same time as viewing the approach from Baltimore Avenue about 45-44th St.)
Trees NOT Impacted