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individual identity and design requirements.Figure 7.16a/b is a summary of the expected environmental impact of the tram on the different sections of Line One in Nottingham: it shows, under the heading 'Visual Intrusion/Landscape', that the tram system will have moderately positive results in four of the seven sections of the line; one section where the benefits and drawbacks cancel each other out, and two sections where there are environmental disadvantages.THE NOTTINGHAM EXPRESS TRANSIT The main concern of this case study is the visual impact of the proposed tram and its infrastructure on the streets and squares of Nottingham.Nevertheless, as features of a linked public realm they take on added significance, as indeed Camillo Sitte noted in his studies of medieval towns in Europe.19 A city served by an integrated transport system, where the tram, light rail, metro or bus serves the bulk of the population, is able to develop within the interstices of the transport system; a parallel network of public spaces designed for pedestrian use, which link the home to the centre and to the countryside through a series of streets, squares and green corridors.The full visual impact, however, of the tram on the streets and squares of Nottingham can only be judged when the Express transit has been installed and is fully working.The project was the subject of an Environmental Assessment Process, a technique dealt with more fully in Urban Design: Method and Technique.25 Environmental Assessment is a procedure for evaluating the environmental impacts of major projects.It was the urbane and highly stylish French Tramway systems that influenced many similar developments in Britain in cities like Manchester, Sheffield, and Nottingham's installation of the Express Transit System (Figure 7.10).It also included important on-street sections in the city centre.


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individual identity and design requirements. Nevertheless, as features of a linked public realm they take on added significance, as indeed Camillo Sitte noted in his studies of medieval towns in Europe.19 A city served by an integrated transport system, where the tram, light rail, metro or bus serves the bulk of the population, is able to develop within the interstices of the transport system; a parallel network of public spaces designed for pedestrian use, which link the home to the centre and to the countryside through a series of streets, squares and green corridors. Rail travel within cities began in the nineteenth century. On Merseyside, for example, the most comprehensive local rail network outside London, was developed in the 1850s. In 1886, the Mersey Railway opened, providing a passenger service under the river from James Street Station in Liverpool to Green Lane in Birkenhead. The line was later extended to serve other areas in the Wirral including from James Street Station to Central Station and so linking to the national rail network. At its peak in 1890, the Mersey Railway carried 10 million passengers. In 1903 the system was electrified – the first rail electrification in the world – preceding the process in London. Other electrification schemes followed, with lines from Exchange Station to Southport, Aintree and Ormskirk being built. The network was completed in 1974 linking the four main city stations.21 A network of tram and bus services complements suburban rail systems, such as the one in Liverpool and the more extensive rail and underground systems in London. The tramway is an efficient and environmentally friendly method for carrying many people around the city. The electric tram has a long history dating back to the end of the nineteenth century. One well-known example is the electric tram route planned by Soria y Mata to serve a linear suburb in Madrid (Figure 7.8). The linear suburbs of Soria y Mata ran between two major radials of the city. Unlike other suggestions for urban development, such as Garnier’s Cite Industrielle, the Madrid project was actually built and then operated by the designer’s family, until the 1930s.22 The tramways were intended to circle the whole of Madrid and were originally designed to service areas of cheap housing for the middle classes. The main feature of the development was a tree-lined boulevard, along which ran a private ‘street car’. The ‘street car’ connected the linear arrangement of house plots with radial transport routes to the city centre. The first-generation trams in the UK were phased out after the Second World War: the ‘last tram’ in Liverpool, for example, was phased out in the mid1950s. One pleasant reminder, however, of those first-generation tramways, and which is still run as a public service, though mainly as a tourist attraction, is in Blackpool. In cities such as Prague and Lisbon in mainland Europe, and in San Francisco in the USA trams have survived from the early part of the last century (Figure 7.9). France is a country with a great deal of experience in developing the new generation of rapid transit systems for medium-sized cities. In this area of city planning it is a country from which Britain has learned much. The planning of rapid transit systems in France began in the 1970s. New interest in public transport was stimulated by the growth of urban populations and by the increasing road congestion within cities. For example, in major cities such as Marseille and Lyon, the Metro was the favoured solution to urban congestion. Then around 1975, the French Government began to look at lessexpensive systems than the Metro for use in medium-sized cities. The result was a new generation of tramways: the first opened in Nantes in 1985, then in Grenoble in 1987; others were to follow in the 1990s. It was the urbane and highly stylish French Tramway systems that influenced many similar developments in Britain in cities like Manchester, Sheffield, and Nottingham’s installation of the Express Transit System (Figure 7.10). In Manchester, there was no connection between the two main line stations of Victoria and Piccadilly. A number of schemes for connecting these stations had been suggested but the one that was finally adopted was a light rail carrying trams. This connection was to be part of a six-route system, radiating from the city centre, totalling about 100 km of line. The initial phase, dating from the early 1990s comprised lines to Bury and Altringham, using mainly existing British Rail lines. It also included important on-street sections in the city centre. A later route to Salford Quays is of particular interest for the urban designer, because of the way in which the line has assisted in generating development potential. The whole area of Salford Quays, served in part by the Metro, provides an opportunity to develop a whole district of mixed land uses comprising squares, streets, prestigious buildings, all arranged around a system of inter-connected water basins: sustainable development of the highest environmental quality (Figures 7.11–7.13). THE NOTTINGHAM EXPRESS TRANSIT The main concern of this case study is the visual impact of the proposed tram and its infrastructure on the streets and squares of Nottingham. This is only a small section of the environmental analysis undertaken as part of the design of the system. The Nottingham Express Transit (NET) system is designed to provide a key contribution towards the future public transport needs of Greater Nottingham. The first line of NET is currently under construction and is part of an integrated transport system which links public transport services and the national rail network with tram and bus routes. The first line of the NET will be completed by November 2003 and will be serviced by 15 trams. Figure 7.14 shows the position of Line One, which is under construction, while Figure 7.15 shows the position of the proposed future routes. The main reason for investment in the express transit for Nottingham is the expected growth in the number of cars using city roads. Every year the city roads get a little more congested. This congestion, it is thought, will eventually stifle the city’s vibrant economy from growing further. The vehicles congesting Nottingham’s roads also cause pollution, which can damage the health of the people of Nottingham and harm the city’s environment. Providing a first class public transport service that is integrated into the life of the city together with other forms of transport, including cycling and walking, tackles the twin problems of congestion and pollution by reducing the number of vehicles on the road. It also gives people a choice of transport options, where dependence upon the private motorcar is not so overwhelming. Elsewhere in Britain, and the rest of mainland Europe, new tram systems have helped to regenerate the economy of urban areas, through which they pass. This was an important consideration in determining the route chosen for Line One of the project in Nottingham, which runs from Hucknall through Bulwell, Baseford and Hyson Green to the city centre, with a branch to the M1 motorway. These are some of the most run-down areas in the city, including former coalfields: they should benefit from new businesses and people relocating to areas close to the new public transport service. Therefore, in addition to an estimated reduction of 2 million car journeys in the city every year, Line One of the NET should boost run-down local economies because of this better link with the growing and stronger economy of the city.24 It should also bring back life to the public realm in the areas through which it runs, which will mean more vibrant streets and squares. The project was the subject of an Environmental Assessment Process, a technique dealt with more fully in Urban Design: Method and Technique.25 Environmental Assessment is a procedure for evaluating the environmental impacts of major projects. Analysis of the project’s characteristics and their impact on the existing environment provides the basis for the evaluation. The full visual impact, however, of the tram on the streets and squares of Nottingham can only be judged when the Express transit has been installed and is fully working. Figure 7.16a/b is a summary of the expected environmental impact of the tram on the different sections of Line One in Nottingham: it shows, under the heading ‘Visual Intrusion/Landscape’, that the tram system will have moderately positive results in four of the seven sections of the line; one section where the benefits and drawbacks cancel each other out, and two sections where there are environmental disadvantages. In Baseford, for example, there is concern about the visual quality of the replacement footbridges, while in Bulwell there is concern over the effect on a nature reserve and the loss of amenity for a number of families living close to the track. In both cases, mitigation in the form of additional security to prevent vandalism and tree planting for screening have been suggested.26 Going beyond the bland statements in the Environmental Assessment, requires a leap of imagination and an attempt to try to recapture the excitement of the vision that lies behind this expensive but necessary project. A study of the effect of the trams in Manchester, Sheffield or in other cities where they are currently running, is probably the best way to get some idea of the probable result in Nottingham (Figures 7.17–7.20). There is little doubt that the introduction of new forms of transport running on the streets in the city centre will transform the look of Nottingham. This is not a minor adjustment in the urban scene. The presence of such a vehicle in Market Square, for example, will bring life right into the heart of the city. If it mirrors similar developments in France, it can only improve the image of the city. The development of the infrastructure for the tram is to be accompanied by new landscaping of pavements, new road surface materials, some bold street furniture and facilities for cyclists and pedestrians. The tram is an urbane solution to transport problems in the city: its size and scale is compatible with the street scene. Where the modern tram is operating, it has a positive effect upon the townscape, often associated with a European-style café culture. The tram will replace a litter of untidy parked cars that degrade the townscape in many city squares and streets. The resulting pedestrian-friendly and pollution-free environment is ideal for better appreciation of the streets and squares that adorn our cities. The installation of the Express Transit System as part of a wider and integrated network of public transport is a move in the direction of a more sustainable city of environmental quality.

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