Grand Central Terminal Pedestrian Studies

East Side Access Raises Pedestrian Footfall

East Side Access will bring eight new Long Island Rail Road trains tracks to Grand Central Terminal by December 2022, raising the number of passenger trips per day to 162,000. Currently, Metro-North Trains deliver 69,700 passengers to Grand Central per hour during peak hours (Fig. 1). East Side Access is being constructed directly below Grand Central as an extension of the terminal. In the diagram, the darker the shade of blue, the deeper underground those passageways are. The following analysis visualizes the jump in pedestrian traffic from the construction of new entries and passageways planned for East Side Access.

Fig. 1

Fig. 1

Upon completion, daily commutes to Grand Central will be cut short by 30 to 40 minutes, according to MTA, but the new rails will also raise pedestrian traffic by 193%, bringing in an additional 65,000 passengers and raising the average number of pedestrians in the station to 134,700 per hour during peak hours and 7,600 per hour on average (Fig. 2).

Fig. 2

Fig. 2

Multi-level Connection Disperses Pedestrian Traffic

To integrate the total underground network of two upper platforms (Grand Central as it is), two lower platforms (East Side Access), and a mezzanine, platforms will be interconnected by four 180-feet escalators (akin to those at the new Hudson Yards station linked to the 7 train): three will be operational, the fourth a backup. Additionally, four staircase entrances linking the mezzanine to the platforms will be installed. These multi-level connections would diffuse traffic density and improve circulation (Fig. 3).

Fig. 3

Fig. 3

 

One Vanderbilt Upzoning Improves Net Circulation for City

Fig. 4 The extension of Vanderbilt Avenue from 43st to 42st will also absorb pedestrian footfall

Fig. 4 The extension of Vanderbilt Avenue from 43st to 42st will also absorb pedestrian footfall

Upzoning Vanderbilt Corridor (Fig. 4) made possible the development of One Vanderbilt, which will further disperse traffic density (Fig. 5). The new skyscraper will include a multi-level, hybrid space linking the labyrinthine below grade to the street level.

Fig. 5

Fig. 5

Under current conditions, additional passengers from East Side Access would worsen street level traffic around One Vanderbilt by 3.6%. With One Vanderbilt and the Vanderbilt Avenue extension, increased traffic from East Side Access will be absorbed by those new developments, which will, in fact, improve pedestrian walkability by a net 2.9% (Fig. 6).

Fig. 6

Fig. 6

The development of One Vanderbilt and the extension of Vanderbilt Avenue alone would improve nearby pedestrian levels by 22.5%. If East Side Access is introduced without allowing for the Vanderbilt Avenue extension, the new train routes will diminish pedestrian walkability by 0.7%.

The development of One Vanderbilt will nearly even out increased traffic from East Side Access and benefit the neighborhood, testaments to rezoning in favor of more developments.

XIM: Quantifying the Pedestrian Experience

While the experience of a pedestrian walking through a city is inherently subjective, the physical characteristics that define it are not. The pedestrian's experience exposes the character of a city through his contact, or lack of contact, with the surfaces of buildings. These characteristics can be measured and quantified, informing our understanding of how the built environment shapes the perception of place.

We created an analysis system that quantitatively exposes the different affects urban morphology has on pedestrian experience, beginning with a pedestrian's field of view.

Floor Area Ratio: NYC vs LD

Floor Area Ratio: NYC vs LD

Floor Area Ratio, the ratio of the total building floor area to the lot area, is a common measurement system used to regulated the density of buildings. Most cities use floor area ratio (FAR) as part of their zoning regulations. Both New York City and London use FAR, but they measure it in different ways, resulting in different representations in density.

Transnational Cities Conference

Luc Wilson and Muchan Park will be presenting their work Diagnosing Globalism in New York, London, and Shanghai in Albuquerque, New Mexico on March 29th, 2014.

Global cities are generally considered increasingly homogenized places as technological
advances in communication shorten our perception of distance. Many observers have faulted
this trend for erasing cultural and social distinctions between cities. However, there is a shift in
globalization occurring because urban decisionmakers have begun to understand the costs of
homogenization and the need to compete with other global cities for talent

The event is presented by the UNM School of Architecture and Planning, the Center for the Southwest, the Department of History, and the Office of the Provost.

Click through to the UNM Department of History for details.