Open Transit Design: Why Stations Designed for Non-Transit Users Are Most Successful

How many people go to Grand Central Terminal just for the experience? Peter David Cavaluzzi, FAIA describes a new approach to transit station design that, in its desired appeal to non-transit users, is indebted to the great stations of the past. On any given day, Grand Central Terminal in midtown Manhattan, which opened almost 100 years ago, enjoys far more visitors drawn to its shopping, dining, and cultural events, than actual transit users. There are more than 750,000 people that pass below its vaulted astronomical ceiling every day. When the building was first designed, however, New York did not realize it was laying the foundation for the development of today’s most modern transit stations and public places. But as we return to the lessons learned at this project, in an era of revived interest in downtown living and car-less transit, we see how progressive yet timeless that approach really was. The American Public Transportation Association reports that Americans took 10.4 billion rides on public transit in 2011, which is an increase of 1 billion since 2000. It is time, again, to design with optimism for transit stations that will be grand 150-200 years from now.

Planetizen

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