Originally Posted by Busy Bee
then why the lack of underpasses? I noticed that the new Normal, IL intermodal station also will eventually be overpass, even though for some reason they are delaying its' construction. This while the interior of the station actually ramps UP to the platform! Why in the world couldn't have constructed an entrance to an underpass from inside the station itself, completely isolated from the weather. What a lost opportunity. It could have even had escalators or those inclined moving sidewalks you see oversees.
Is this just an issue of domestic architecture firms having no clue how to design train stations or is there just an across the board lack of vision amongst all parties when it comes to the most sensible station design. What I'm asking is, have any of these folks been oversees or even studied the design of a foreign train station?
A pedestrian bridge offers more of a landmark presence than an underpass - this gives the station some sense of place in a less frivolous way than a clock tower.
The underpass also usually requires a weekend shutdown of the rail line. If the freight railroad refuses a shutdown, then the overpass comes out as far cheaper than some complex construction staging to keep the rail line open.
Finally, there's a perception that underpasses are dank, damp, unpleasant, and prone to vandalism. Of course, if you've ever been to Amtrak's BWI station, you'd find that overpasses can have the same problems.
I should note that, in my experiences in Europe, the underpasses are usually at the same level as the station house, because when the rail line was originally built they either elevated it above the surrounding grade or depressed the whole area around the line.