As you know, I have been working on my new project- Parisidia for some time now. The build is still far from done, but I thought I would show some progress. Parisidia is an island city in the far Northwest of the country of Moneyland, at the border between the provinces of Olson and Greenland. Parisidia Island is an island in the middle of the Rapid River, which stretches 1,000 miles (1,600 km) from the Southern Mountains to the city of Sandy Shores just a few miles northwest of Parisidia.
This is the current state of Parisidia. As you can see, far west and north need the most development in terms of suburban sprawl and small communities while the east still needs some more suburban sprawl. The central downtown is architecturally similar to Paris, and the Conifer Park (the park with all of the trees and winding roads) is in the middle of downtown. Note that north downtown is still a WIP. To the right of Downtown is La Leguna, a safe haven for companies and skyscrapers that have been ousted from downtown by the strict building requirements. North of La Leguna are planned to be small communities, which are also still WIP.
Today, we will focus on the West Side of Parisidia, in the cities of Ashlyn and Seeberg as well as some of the suburban communities in the North (which have already been built). We will Journey along the Ashlyn Industrial Expressway, the highway that starts at the docks and ends up north.
The Ashlyn Expressway was built in 1960, as part of the freeway boom. The freeways was to be signed I-553 for the duration of the route that would cross the north fork of the Rapid River and end in the docks. However, the Rapid River north fork bridge was never built for the Ashlyn Expwy due to protests and traffic statistics, which showed that the bridge would be underused severely.
This map shows the Ashlyn Expressway in Red, along with the major districts on the route.
Brown=CBD/Downtown (North WIP)
Green= Beacon Heights (WIP)
Yellow=Seeberg (Major WIP)
Today the Ashlyn Expressway is used mainly by trucks from the docks and industrial factories of Ashlyn. The expressway is actually severely underused by commuters due to its bad placement. Most commuters in the northern suburbs prefer to either take the metro to go into the city center and the east side, or the tram to go south into Ashlyn and Riverside. The Ashlyn Expressway is the only elevated expressway in the entirety of the island. Most expressways were built several years earlier in 1950, with much more consideration of the environmental and social impacts caused by the highways (an example would be the ML-25A, which runs East to West near the southern shore from Des Locartes Village to West Point (currently WIP).
The Ashlyn Expressway begins here, at the docks of Ashlyn. Trucks use this expressway during peak hours but the road is almost deserted today.
The expressway bends around industrial storage and warehouses in the area.
Warehouses in this area are mostly for temporary storage, before they are moved to the industry in the north.
Looking Downwards at Industry (Sorry for low quality, but game runs very badly on my computer)
The Spaghetti Bowl is the interchange between Ashlyn Industrial Expressway and ML-25A.
Past the interchange, looking north. The expressway runs through a heavily industrialized area. The Metro can be seen going over the expressway.
A view of the Expressway crossing the metro depot. As the city retired old metro trains, they were stationed here and left to rot until Ashlyn City Council decides what to do with them.
The interchange between National Boulevard and the Expressway. Due to the depot, a partial cloverleaf intersection had to be made, unfortunately leading to tons of real estate being wasted.
After the National Boulevard Interchange, the Metro Line runs parallel to the expressway. On the right side, neighborhoods such as these have started to revitalize Ashlyn. Unfortunately for the expressway, most residents of neighborhoods like these prefer to use public transport instead of the roads.
Another picture of the metro station. The freeway runs to the right of the large warehouse-turned-loft buildings on the right hand side.
When the Parisidia County decided to replace all the old New Flyer XD 40 Buses with the new model XE-40s and XE-60s, most of the bus infrastructure, like the trains, were left here, in the depot next to the highway.
On the right side of the interchange, we have the city of Seeberg, mostly low-income houses and public housing is situated here. Seeberg was the old workers town for the industry in Ashlyn, but after industry demand dropped in Ashlyn, Seeberg was left with the population moving out.
Looking East on National Boulevard. The 1:2 Eiffel Tower replica on the left was made in 1953, to continue the tradition of building a replica Eiffel Tower for every city that was named "Paris". Although Parisidia really isn't Paris, it was close enough that the Lucky Penny Casino hired a contractor to build a replica.
Past the seedier south side of town, we can finally see some greener pastures. The expressway cuts through the northern suburbs of Parisidia. Beacon Heights, on the top left, is known for its "liquid grid"- a grid pattern where roads bend and curve to create a sense of small-scale communities that cul-de-sacs promote.
Near Beacon Heights is the suburb of Westbury, a historical town that retains its past charm.
As seen with the signs on the spaghetti bowl interchange, Ashlyn Industrial Expressway is signed NR-210 throughout its entire route. NR stands for National Route, which designates a less-important route than the ML (Moneyland) Routes, like the A and B roads in England).
The Future of the Expressway is uncertain. While the south portion of the 210 to the docks will almost certainly be preserved, the north portion from Ashlyn to the northern suburbs is currently controversial. Demonstrations and protest have been common to remove the expressway, mainly due to it being an eyesore and not very heavily used at all. As mentioned above, people in the suburbs just tend to take the excellent and reliable public transport more than use the expressway. Perhaps if the proposed bridge across the North Branch was built, the road would be actually more heavily traveled upon than the road right now in its unfinished and almost useless state. As you can see from the picture below the freeway really starts and ends in the middle of nowhere.
Update May 16th 2018- The Council has seriously proposed an extension of the Ashlyn Industrial Expressway across the North Branch of the river and signing the route as I-161 as a divergence from I-61 above, mostly to take away traffic from the I-61/ML-25 bridge.
The photo above currently shows the freeways going in and around Parisidia Island. The green and brown routes are I-61 and I-53, respectively while the Light Blue route is ML-25. As you can see, both I-61 and I-53 do not currently enter the island at all, instead terminating at either end of the island.
The Yellow route is the ML-25A, the main connector highway from east to west. The solid red line is the Ashlyn Industrial Expressway currently, while the dotted red line is the city's proposal to extend the expressway so that drivers on I-61 coming from the north can easily get into the city of Ashlyn without either resorting to surface roads like National Boulevard or having to take a large detour on ML-25, then taking going on ML-25A, and finally taking the Ashlyn Expressway.
This photo explains the concerns quite well. The Red shows the current route of a commuter that wants to take only freeways from I-61 to the northern suburbs. The green shows a commuter who prefers to take the shortest route from I-61 to the northern suburbs using surface roads (the surface roads have a speed limit of only around 25 mph and have multiple traffic lights on the route). However, the blue route shows the route that a commuter will be able to take using the new Ashlyn Industrial Expressway expansion.
In addition, this photo also shows the uselessness of the Expressway in its current state for commuters especially from the north. In its current state it is much more practical to just take surface roads through downtown instead of trying to zigzag your way around the city to get onto the expressway. Should the extension be built or should the entire north highway just b demolished to make way for a surface street solution?