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It must be borne in mind in making any comparison among these cities that abroad such openings are both in the sidewalks and roadways; whereas in Manhattan they are almost entirely restricted to the latter area. Nevertheless, even making this allowance, the comparison does not show New York conditions in such an unfavorable light as would be gathered from some of the comments that have been made.

PERMANENT SIDEWALK OBSTRUCTIONS

In the matter of sidewalk obstructions, which has assumed considerable importance with us in recent years in our narrower streets, it is noticed that similar streets in the European cities are usually free from building projections, show-cases, stairways, etc. In order to get additional display room in shop-windows, without encroaching beyond the building-line, these are frequently carried down into the basement, allowing the display of goods on two levels to be seen through the windows. Where the streets are wide and not congested with traffic, there is often more private use made of the sidewalk than is allowed in this country. Cafes frequently utilize a large proportion of the sidewalk for additional tables, sometimes placing screens or other obstructions nearly out to the curb, permitting practically no passing travel excepting in the roadway. The matter of sidewalk regulations is within the control of the police and depends on whether local interests or the allowing of a maximum of through travel is regarded as of major importance.

NEW BUILDING CONSTRUCTION

For new building construction the owner of the property involved almost invariably takes up part, and frequently all, of the sidewalk, which is generally enclosed by a high board fence. This is partly due to the fact that building construction as carried on abroad necessitates the employment of extensive scaffolding on the faces of the walls, which does not permit the use of a covered bridge across the face of the excavation. Building materials, machinery and contractors' sheds are not usually allowed to stand in the roadway throughout the period of construction, but it is utilized as much as possible by the building contractor for unloading materials, and many cases were noticed in Paris, Vienna and German cities where the street was absolutely closed to traffic in the roadway during the entire time of construction of the building. The point in which our building permit ordinance could be modified to advantage to conform to any European conditions noticed is in regard to doing away with the issuing of permits to builders allowing the storage of materials on the street. As it has been claimed frequently that the practice abroad is much superior to that prevalent here in all respects, it is proper to state that a parallel was seen in almost every European city of consequence for even the most improper cases of private occupancy of public roadway occurring in our cities.

STREET RAILWAYS

Street railway condition and their effects upon street surfaces and the use of the street were noted with particular attention. Few points were seen which could be adopted here for the improvement of our track. It is usual almost everywhere, as here, to place upon the authorities or corporation operating the tramways responsibility for the maintenance of the pavement in and between the tracks and for a short width adjacent to and outside of the rails. The underground conductor system with central slot, universal in Manhattan, exists to any considerable nt only in London and Paris, there being in Brussels, Berlin, Vienna and Paris a small amount of track with the slot occupying the position

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Parliament Square. On the south footway, looking toward the Houses of Parliament; showing entrance to pedestrian subway across roadway and to public lavatory.

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A Berlin street name sign on electric light pole, near the Thiergarten.

of a groove in one tram rail. This is a foreign construction adopted some years ago and now being superseded in Paris, though apparently satisfactory in Brussels and Vienna. The cars operated on this system have a contact device so arranged that it can be lifted up through the slot and the current taken by an overhead trolley or bow in districts where this latter system is not regarded as objectionable. The track construction and foundations are usually lighter than are employed in New York, and also usually appear to be laid with more care, particular attention being paid to accuracy of such minor points as placing the tie-rods at exact intervals and at right-angles to the rails, in order that they present no obstruction to the placing of stone paving blocks. This is particularly true of the London and new Paris tramways where the paving in the tracks is usually very good. The same difficulties are experienced as with us in maintaining asphalt adjacent to the rails and in turnouts and crossovers. Some very poor conditions in this respect were noted in the heart of Berlin and in the older tramway constructures in Paris. The experience abroad seems to agree with that here, that the most satisfactory type of pavement for use between tramway rails is a closejointed granite block with bituminous filler. Some very well paved streets in such cities as Dresden and Frankfurt a. M. have a course of hard wood blocks next the rail, but in such cases the street traffic is light.

OTHER DETAILS

There was noticed everywhere a close cooperation between the police authorities, those charged with street cleaning and those responsible for the maintenance of the street surfaces.

Some other minor details of European streets are worthy of note:

Fire hydrants are usually depressed beneath an iron cover flush with the sidewalk. There are not so many manhole covers in the roadway and those employed are designed to present as little change from the regular surface of the street as possible. They are frequently made recessed and filled with small stone or wood blocks. On account of more careful street cleaning they do not have to be opened frequently for the removal of dirt from manholes. Sewer manhole covers are usually ventilated, and all types are carefully set to conform to the exact surface of the street. Gutter inlets are usually small, at frequent intervals, and away from corners. Iron sand boxes adjacent to the curb are provided for use of the street cleaners. Street refuges or safety isles are sometimes equipped with shelters for waiting tramway passengers. Stopping points for street cars are indicated by a sign, which also shows the route numbers of cars stopping at that point. Private crossings over the sidewalks for vehicles are very prevalent, the curb being usually dropped and the sidewalk often paved with the same material as the street.

Street names are usually indicated by enameled plates attached to buildings at corners. The best signs for this purpose are in Berlin and Frankfurt a. M., where posts on each corner carry name plates showing also adjacent numbering. These are so arranged as to be read clearly from passing vehicles. Electric and gas light poles are like the latest New York styles. London has pillar mail boxes next the curb. Elsewhere square boxes are employed attached to walls. Cab stands between safety isles usually allow two lines of passing traffic on each side. Some form of traffic regulations, modeled after London, is found in all the larger continental cities. Nowhere else do the police handle street traffic so well.

Some of these notes concern matters outside the direct province of street construction and maintenance, but are all points to be considered in any attempt to better street conditions. It has been desired to present a true picture of such conditions in European streets for comparison with this city and for such deduc. tions as may be made to answer unjust or assist helpful criticism.

CHAPTER VIII

SOME IDEAS ABOUT EUROPEAN CITIES CONTRASTED WITH THE CAMERA RECORD OF THE FACTS

"The use of traveling is to regulate imagination by reality, and instead of thinking how things may be, to see them as they are."

-SAMUEL JOHNSON.

STONE PAVEMENTS “We will learn how to lay them in the English way, so they will be almost as smooth and pleasant to use as any other pavement."

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Fig. 254

LIVERPOOL Near the Landing Stage, 3 p. m. on a working day. “Years of study, experiment and observations have convinced the best paving engineers of Europe that stone block pavement should not be grouted with cement."

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Fig. 255

Laying a stone block pavement with cement grouted joints in London. See also Birmingham and Munich views for similar work. The best paving engineers of Europe have no unanimous convictions on this subject.

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