Welcome back dear reader, to start the new year we are going to visit a new urban development in the suburbs of Copenhagen, Denmark.
To get to Orestad we’re going to take the Metro from downtown Copenhagen.
This is the metro station near my hotel. Other than that column with a big M, it’s hard to see the station. The entry is just an opening ** in the pavement with an escalator down. There is no building above the surface:
The skylights allow some natural light into the concourse level of the station below. You can see the glass elevator tower just beyond the skylights:
The first set of escalators take us down from the sidewalk to the first concourse level. Just above the clock you can see the bottom of the gnomen that extended from the peak of the skylight (in the previous picture) down into the station. On a sunny day in October, I would not describe the lower levels as sunlit.
Looking over the concourse railing you can see that the escalators go down and down two more levels, the platform level is very deep:
Ahh, the platform level appears:
The platform level is a centre platform between the two directions of tracks. Each track has two metro lines running on it, called M1 and M2:
M1 and M2 run on the same tracks through the downtown area and separate to go to different suburbs as shown on the map below.
People going and as far as Christianhavn can take any train but beyond that need to choose to take either M1 or M2.
If Ottawa had this system on the Confederation Line, C1 trains would go to Lincoln fields and then to Baseline. C2 trains would go to Lincoln Fields and then go to Bayshore.
I have not yet heard a persuasive argument as to why Ottawa will run all trains destination Baseline and require people to transfer to another train at Lincoln Fields if going toward Kanata. Each transfer makes the trip seem more complex and difficult. Ottawa plans the same “need to transfer” layout when the Trillium Line extends beyond Greenboro:
Here is a map of the metro and suburban train system in Copenhagen. Note how M1 (green line) and M2 (yellow line) share a track in the urban area and split when entering the suburbs:
At the platform level there are moving glass walls/doors to keep people off the tracks. The dimple pattern shows where the train will stop. Notice the customer dutifully standing behind the white line so passengers can get off first:
Here is the view of the doors along the length of the platform with the escalator reflected in the glass. Advertising revenue is important for transit operators. Ottawa will not have advertising on the LRT Lines for the first year or two until people get used to way finding.
The trains have no driver. They run on completely separated rights of way. The front of the train is a window, passengers sit up close to the window. If you unlock and lift the little hatch under the window there are controls to drive the train. There is no valuable on-train space taken up for a driver’s cab. Or (in Ottawa ) four …
This possibly confusing picture is taken from row two in the train. The tunnel section ahead can be seen in the lower left corner. The rest of the photo is a reflection of the people inside the car. Notice there are two rows of seats, with a standing area near the doors.
And the tunnel sections of the metro are in two separate bores, so each direction has its own tunnel. This means one tunnel can receive night time maintenance while the other tunnel continues in operation. So the metro can run 24 / 7 / 365, albeit at lower frequency at night than during the day when both direction tracks are open.
Ottawa has both tracks in the same tunnel so the system has to be shut down for night time maintenance and alternate bus service needs to be provided. The hours of operation will vary by day of the week.
Once in the suburbs the train comes up out of the tunnels and onto an elevated concrete guideway:
We are now arriving in Orestad, designed to be an architectural showplace of new urban development in the Copenhagen suburbs.
Elevated concrete guideways are very thick and heavy. The space between the two elevated guideways should let sunlight down to allow for growth of plants:
Various types of greenery has been planted along the guideways. Most of it was struggling, if not dead. The area under many of the guideways had all the charm of elevated freeways from the previous generation:
Waterscaping in this area helped overcome the poor plant growth options.
The public transit metro line in theory unites the community with accessibility. But like freeways, elevation provides access while also separating the neighbourhoods. The two “sides” of the main corridor through Orestad had numerous crossing points but the distances were great, and it felt like two one-sided streets.
This is another car on the metro line. There is a large glass window at the end. Notice that there are seats only on one side, allowing lots of space for standees. Ottawa anticipates 60% standees on its LRT even at non rush hours.
Once at Orestad Station, we are ready to walk about …
** Roofless openings or holes in the surface that provide access down to the underground level, or concourse level, are sometimes given the charming name vomitorium. I can understand why it is not featured in advertising.