Monday, January 27, 2014

Analysis of the Current Forms of Public Transportation in Quincy, Illinois

By Kayla Fuller

This post is a continuation of research from one of my earlier posts in regards to my thesis. I am analyzing the livability of downtown Quincy, Illinois and the current forms of transportation available to its residents and how transportation has affected the city . In July, 2010, the town was awarded a six million dollar grant for the design and construction of an intermodal transportation center that would bring together inner city passenger rail and local and regional bus services. The main objective is to find a more central location for the new station that provides for all.
The development of highways has greatly affected the shape and density of the American city. Quincy is the center of a four-lane highway in all directions, and has direct access to Missouri through the Quincy Memorial Bridge for east bound Traffic and the Bayview Bridge serving west bound traffic.  Rail service has existed almost as long as the town’s dependence on river commerce.  The first station in Quincy was opened in 1899, located at Second and Oak streets, was a freight terminal and engine house that was used until a new station was opened across the Mississippi River in West Quincy. The station in West Quincy serviced the Amtrak and opened in 1953, the station in Quincy was utilized by freight trains until it closed in 1962. West Quincy is just west of Quincy across the Mississippi and is mainly comprised of flood plains used for farming, because of the flooding, the West Quincy station would be inaccessible and eventually closed in 1993 after the “Great Flood of 1993”. The historic Chicago, Burlington and Quincy Railroad; established a commercial connection from Quincy to Chicago and eventually expanded its reach west to Colorado, developing an even greater network of commerce for the town. The Amtrak has two trains that run from Union Station in Chicago to Quincy and these have become more popular with travelers, so much that the current station no longer fulfills the needs of the customers. The station is also located along the outskirts of the city and should be recentralized to provide improved accessibility for those who rely on public transportation.
The image to above breaks down the distance from the station to areas throughout town. The first four smaller rings around the station are ¼ mile and the others are ½ mile.
Image from Google Earth

Public transportation in Quincy is not utilized to the best of its potential. As the automobile has become a more standard form of personal transportation the use of public transportation has become less common. For many it’s the control of being able to go wherever they want without having to rely on others. In today’s world wasted time is wasted money, people do not have the time to leisurely travel from place to place. If you take a look at the map of the current transit lines of Quincy you can see that the Amtrak station is not directly serviced by any route.  The Blue Line has a drop off about one-tenth of a mile to the east of the site, and for those who must rely on it are forced to cross the intersection which can be dangerous at certain times. Another issue is that the Blue Line starts running at 6:12a.m.almost two miles from the station and the first train leaves the station at the same time, this does not provide customers with a form a public transportation to rely on forcing them to find other means. 

The image above shows the distance from the Amtrak station to the veterinary clinic, storage company, neighborhood and other spaces around the site.

Image from Google Earth
First picture is looking west to 24th Street from the Amtrak Station. Second picture is looking east to 30th Street. Both pictures taken by author.
The  images in the figure above are across the street to the north of the current station; there is a small neighborhood to the west, a veterinary clinic just to the east of the neighborhood, a storage facility and a small car dealership across the street. The area is definitely not inviting to guests and shows no identity of Quincy. By moving the station to 2nd and Oak, pictured below , it will return to its original location near the Mississippi on which the town was founded and invites guest to explore the historic downtown and surrounding districts. Unfortunately the area around 2nd and Oak has been neglected, this space has much potential for improvement. By relocating the station it will provide guests with a unique experience.

Top image is a panoramic view of the northern part of the 2nd and oak intersection. The bottom three are images of where the original station once stood but now occupied by a trucking company.)

There will be more to come soon…..

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