24 July 2009

籃灣, part two

The recent impetus to delve into my made up megalopolis of Bluebay is rooted in my desire to take a closer look at its mass transit system. Why? Well, when I was home in Ohio, I flirted with the idea of converting my maps to digital form but not by just merely scanning them. I wanted to replicate these maps on my computer so that I wouldn't have to worry about damaged or even losing my hand written documents. The only documents, however, that could even potentially be converted are those related to the mass transit system. Since I possess no knowledge in how to even draw a straight, coloured line between two dots on a computer (I'm running a Mac, so I don't have Microsoft Paint), I eventually gave up on the idea.

The other reason why I've been thinking of mass transit a lot recently is, believe it or not, related to my process of falling asleep. For many years, although not every single night, I often helped myself fall asleep by imagining that I was on a fully flat bed in either First or Business Class of Mayjorkit's flag carrier, Blueair. I'm not quite sure why I did this, outside of my obvious love of commercial aviation. Then again, sometimes I feel that I enjoy thinking about the experience than actually going through the experience, which is understandable since flying can be quite stressful in this post-9/11 world. Over this past year, my attempts to fall asleep have been rooted in the idea of being on an overnight train from Bluebay to the biggest city in Mayjorkit's northernmost province, Forehoe, Chissta. Due to Mayjorkit's size and its many islands, rail travel can only exist in certain areas and the Bluebay - Forehoe route is the only one to require an overnight journey due to the long distance, along with the lack of a completed high speed rail line. Even when I'm not imagining myself being on an overnight train, I still will often times fall asleep while thinking of Mayjorkit's rail network.

Unfortunately, I do not have an actual map of the rail systems of Mayjorkit Rail, although it does exist in my head. I am, for the most part, concentrating on the high speed rail lines for now but once again my issues of scale come in again. Exactly just how far away from Bluebay is Stratsbourg, located in northeastern Mainway? Then, how long would it take to get there by both high speed rail and air? I consider Lockhead, to the southwest of Bluebay, and Shorline, directly north of Bluebay, to bedroom communities where a significant amount of the population commutes into Bluebay for work. Even then, I have no precise figure as to how far away these cities are from Bluebay. Lockhead has always been at the hour/fourty-five minute mark, which would make Shoreline about an seventy five to eighty minutes away, according to the highway map of Mainway. This would be a perfect time to finally look at our first map of this post, a map of the commuter rail lines in the Bluebay metropolitan area.

Bluebay Commuter Rail map

First off, this is a ridiculously low number of commuter rail lines for a metropolitan area of around twenty-one million. I'll chalk that up to this not being a complete project, along with not really having any major exposure to the heavy use of rail lines at the time I completed this map. Secondly, I also wanted to mention the large influence that Boston's commuter rail system played on Bluebay's. In the official canon of Mayjorkitian history, this is obvious not so but personally speaking, it was Boston's commuter rail system that compelled me to create one for Bluebay. I had, of course, spent time in Boston during the mid-90s due to my sister's spell at Boston University and always really loved it there, especially when visiting from suburban Ohio.

Third, I wanted to focus in on some of the length of time one would spend on these rail lines. If we look at the purple line from Campary to Shoreline, we'll notice a note mentioning that travel on this line would take a whopping two hours and fourty-five minutes. Yikes. I can't imagine anyone commuting approximately six hours a day. Of course, there are express trains and such but it gets back to my real problems with scale and determining exactly how far away from Bluebay a city like Shoreline is.

Our second map of this post is of Bluebay's subway system:

Bluebay MRTR system map

It is, like the city that is serves, sprawling. Sprawl is probably not the issue here as a sprawling city obviously needs a sprawling transit system to properly facilitate movement around the city. The issue is that this is one horribly, horribly designed system. I really wish I could re-draw this on my computer as I would probably alter a lot of the routes. The lines make no sense and don't properly connect various areas of the city. I attempted to solve this by adding in other dedicated "express" lines, such as one connecting the western ends of the Pier and St. John's Lines together. Seems like an awful waste of money, in my opinion.

The other thing that these two maps present is of a city with multiple large rail stations, as is the case in Paris and London. Basically, Bluebay Main is surrounded by four stations, which are outside the city. Once again, I am unable to define exactly what "outside the city" means. Unlike Paris and London, I feel that a lot more traffic in Mayjorkit flows through Bluebay, as opposed to being the end point. How many people travel from Marseille to Lille? I'm guessing that not a whole of people, so you're not inconveniencing a ton of people by making them switch stations in Paris. My solution to this is a large construction project (not depicted, of course), directly linking three of the outer stations to Bluebay Main by way of yet more tunnels underneath Bluebay. These tunnels will serve both high speed and regular rail as the high speed trains obviously can't hit their maximum speed while within a metropolitan area.

If you thought that the metro system was as bad as it gets, feast your eyes on the abomination below:

Bluebay "urban renewal"

Bluebay, as seen in prior maps, surrounds two lakes, Lake Bluebay and Lake Blueway. These two lakes, in turn, are surrounded by a giant park, in an effort to create something similar to Central Park in New York or Stanley Park in Vancouver. Basically, a large green space in a city. The first problem is the existence of a circular freeway surrounding this park. However, this has since been torn down, if you will. The second problem is depicted in the map above.

This was my idea of urban renewal back when I was fifteen or so. That idea, my friends, was to build a giant shopping centre, an arena, a stadium and worst of all, casinos. Oh, and tons of surface lots for cars. Argh. Horrible, horrible idea but I take comfort in the fact that actual cities run by actual mayors and their advisors who have graduated from university basically have the same ideas that my fifteen year old self had. Not only is the thought of "renewing" a city through malls and casinos horrible, it's even worse when these things are built in an existing park. Even though it's hard to see, I should also note that the mall is shaped line a giant cruise ship, which was an obvious rip off/tribute to the ship shaped mall located in Whampoa Gardens in Hong Kong.

It would be interesting to see how Bluebay would be constructed if this was a project that I started a year or two ago. I know that after all, it is my imaginary city/country and could start over if I wanted to. However, that just seems too unrealistic to me. In a way, it's a good thing to not have constructed a utopia, that any metropolitan area of twenty-one million people is bound to have its problems, no matter how planned it is.