Not so boring
Many urbanists (planners, mostly) have since responded by criticizing the project as appearing to be little more than a radically less efficient subway system.
I think they’re missing the promise.
The idea of moving some individualized transportation — which, let’s face it, people love — below grade seems like a good one, if it can be done cost-effectively. This would increase the amount of space available to pedestrians and cyclists at grade while still allowing for a massively scalable transportation network.
Whereas we’re mostly limited to the two dimensions of ground level space for roads, below grade, we’re provided with a whole new axis to work with.
You can imagine a city of the future with many levels of below grade tunnels well out of eyesight.
That seems to me to be the alternative to our current sub-optimal transportation options for large and growing cities moving into the future, which are:
- Decreased mobility generally, as a function of network capacity or, in a scenario with congestion pricing, individual budget constraints;
- Increased reliance on mass transit at the cost of individualized options (i.e., bus-only lanes); or
- This sort of thing:
Put differently, our current options are:
- Fewer people moving around, across shorter distances, and less frequently;
- Fewer people moving around in their own vehicles, with their own space, on their own routes; or
- Scaling the network along the z-axis above grade.
I like the idea of adding to that set, 4. Scaling the network along the z-axis below grade.
I just wish I could buy some Boring Co stock instead of arguing about this online.