July 30 2014

Students Envision a Future Transportation Corridor for Strasbourg, Alsace, France

A street in downtown Strasbourg, France serviced by the existing tramline

Envision a new urban corridor between Strasbourg’s local airport and the European Parliament Building, also featuring a “European-Express.” That is just one of the ideas dreamt up by prize-winning urban planning students for a contest entitled “Strasbourg 2050.” They are formulating projects suitable for the lofty aims of this competition, which is to “imagine the city of tomorrow.”

Organized by the Strasbourg Association of Urban Planning and Development Students (ASÉAU) in parallel with a symposium on the same topic, the contest invited teams to envisage how the Alsatian city might appear more than thirty years from now, centered around a current sticking point. This reference point is the Place de Haguenau, which is the north entry to the urban area, and its chaotic highway currently only serves the all-powerful automobile.

The winning team, who were recognized by a panel of judges made up of of professionals, suggests making this square the central hub of a new east-west transportation corridor that would serve as an alternative for car travel. The Euro-Express would connect the airport with the European Parliament while passing through the Koenigshoffen suburb, the downtown train station, Haguenau square, and the Palais de la musique et des congrès Exposition Center, currently under-renovation. The team reckons that this operation could remain a limited-cost project. “Taking into account existing and future railway and tramway infrastructure, all we are missing is an additional 1.5km section to serve the tram.”

This corridor would bypass Strasbourg’s congested downtown. “You could travel from the airport to the Parliament in eighteen minutes, thereby dismissing the argument of accessibility problems raised by anti-Strasbourg Euro-deputies,” added the winners.The train station of Strasbourg, France

A Crossroad of Possibilities

The corridor project would form the backbone of a series of urbanization efforts on neighboring properties. Some of these sites would include the Portes de Koenigshoffen, the area behind the train station, a brownfield formerly belonging to a brewery at the edge of the neighboring Schiltigheim commune, and the future business district of Wacken. Currently neglected green spaces such as the Bruche Park, along with others, will provide the corridor with a green backdrop, according to the students.

In their project, the Haguenau square would become a “crossroad of possibilities;” a multimodal space made up by a hub between the Euro-Express and the future tramway service, and liberated from its current one-way loop that makes it so erratic. While it might seem crazy today, the square would be safely cross-able on foot in order to reach Schiltigheim via a central park.

A front of offices and parking lots located along the length of the railway would create an indispensable screen again noise pollution. Before adding a group of dwellings, it would be necessary to have talks with a private building program already underway, consisting of 17,800 square meters of housing, offices, and businesses, as well as with the expected conversion of the Maison du Bâtiment, the former seat of professional federations, and a variety of construction authorities.

Ambitious but highly relevant, this project would also need to define its relation with the neighboring Place des Halles Square. The city’s executive committee identifies this square as the pivotal element for connecting the north of the urban area to public transportation. This more or less corresponds with the ideas proposed by the students for the Haguenau square.

Do you think considerable advances in mobility and sustainability will be made in your city by 2050?

Original article, originally published in French, here.

Credits: Images and data linked to sources.

Marcus Khoury

Marcus Khoury is a recent graduate of the University of California Los Angeles, where he obtained a B.A. in French & Francophone Studies. Aside from his native Michigan, Marcus has lived in several states, in addition to France and Chile. Owing to his experiences with a variety of cultures, languages, and environments, he has always been keenly interested in how the exchange of ideas between different cities, regions, and countries helps to shape both physical and cultural landscapes. His linguistic background, in addition to his interest in the diversity of international urban environments and experiences, has led Marcus to fill the position of French Language Translator at The Grid, where he will be translating and presenting French language material involving environmental design.

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This entry was posted on Wednesday, July 30th, 2014 at 9:09 am and is filed under Community/Economic Development, Government/Politics, Infrastructure, Social/Demographics, Transportation, Urban Development/Real Estate, Urban Planning and Design. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.


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