Repurposing the East Coast Railway: Florida Keys Extension

Material Information

Repurposing the East Coast Railway: Florida Keys Extension A Design Study in Sustainable Practices
Bayliss, Jacqueline
Place of Publication:
[Gainesville, Fla.]
Department of Landscape Architecture, College of Design, Construction and Planning, University of Florida
Publication Date:

Thesis/Dissertation Information

Master's ( Master of Landscape Architecture (M))
Degree Grantor:
University of Florida
Committee Chair:
Volk, Michael Ives
Committee Co-Chair:
Holmes, Robert Bain


Subjects / Keywords:
City of Key West ( local )
Bridge railings ( jstor )
Land use ( jstor )
Birds ( jstor )
Graduate Terminal Project
Project in Lieu of Thesis


The Florida Keys Overseas Highway (US-1) is made up of 52 bridges that showcase scenic ocean views. The viaducts hover over one of the world’s most diverse ecosystems, a marvelous coral reef. The Overseas Highway is the only road into, and out of, the Keys. Before US Highway-1 was built to provide vehicular access throughout the Keys, travelers accessed the Keys via the East Coast Railway: The Keys Extension. However, the harsh weather conditions eventually corroded the construction materials and cars replaced trains. In 1980, the rail was completely decommissioned and replaced by US Highway 1. ( ,, )
The former East Coast Railway still stands, fragmented or decommissioned, alongside the Overseas Highway. Signs are posted to warn boaters of falling debris from the remnants of the rail bridges. The Florida Keys Overseas Heritage Trail (FKOHT) has plans to incorporate many of the old rail conduits, but some are structurally unstable or must remain fragmented for nautical navigation. This terminal design project aims to repurpose the industrial era bridges while still addressing the sustainability concerns.
Analysis of site conditions, historical context, and case studies acted as the foundation for identifying opportunities for adaptive reuse of the bridges. The research through design also incorporates the basic principles of sustainability. Design research concluded that this infrastructure system was dependent on its adaptability to meet the evolving demands of growth and technological advancements.
General Note:
Landscape Architecture Terminal Project
Statement of Responsibility:
by Jacqueline Bayliss

Record Information

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University of Florida
Holding Location:
University of Florida
Rights Management:
Copyright Jacqueline Bayliss. Permission granted to the University of Florida to digitize, archive and distribute this item for non-profit research and educational purposes. Any reuse of this item in excess of fair use or other copyright exemptions requires permission of the copyright holder.
Resource Identifier:
1022120893 ( OCLC )


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REPURPOSING THE EAST COAST RAILWAY: FLORIDA KEYS EXTENSION A DESIGN STUDY IN SUSTAINABLE PRACTICESA terminal thesis project by Jacqueline Bayliss College of Design Construction and Planning University of Florida Spring 2016


University of Florida Spring 2016 Terminal Thesis Project College of Design Construction & Planning Department of Landscape Architecture


A special thanks to Marie Portela Joan Portela Michael Volk Robert Holmes Jen Day Shaw Kay Williams


REPURPOSING THE EAST COAST RAILWAY: FLORIDA KEYS EXTENSION A DESIGN STUDY IN SUSTAINABLE PRACTICESA terminal thesis project by Jacqueline Bayliss College of Design Construction and Planning University of Florida Spring 2016


Project Abstract ................................. Introduction ........................................ Problem Statement ............................. History of the East Coast Railway ...... Research Methods .............................. Site Selection ............................... Site Inventory ............................... Site Analysis.................................. Case Study Projects ..................... Limitations ................................... Design Goals and Objectives .................... Design Proposal ............................ Design Conclusions ...................... Appendices ......................................... Works Cited ........................................ 6 7 9 10 12 14 16 19 26 28 29 30 40 43 48Table of Contents


6Project AbstractThe Florida Keys Overseas Highway (US-1) is made up of 52 bridges that showcase scenic ocean views. The viaducts hover over one of the world’s most diverse ecosystems, a marvelous coral reef. The Overseas Highway is the only road into, and out of, the Keys. Before US Highway-1 was built to provide vehicular access throughout the Keys, travelers accessed the Keys via the East Coast Railway: The Keys Extension. However, the harsh weather conditions eventually corroded the construction materials and cars replaced trains. In 1980, the rail was completely decommissioned and replaced by US Highway 1. The former East Coast Railway still stands, fragmented or decommissioned, alongside the Overseas Highway. Signs are posted to warn boaters of falling debris from the remnants of the rail bridges. The Florida Keys Overseas Heritage Trail (FKOHT) has plans to incorporate many of the old rail conduits, but some are structurally unstable or must remain fragmented for nautical navigation. This terminal design project aims to repurpose the industrial era bridges while still addressing the sustainability concerns. Analysis of site conditions, historical context, and case studies acted as the foundation for identifying opportunities for adaptive reuse of the bridges. The research through design also incorporates the basic principles of sustainability. Design research concluded that this infrastructure system was dependent on its adaptability to meet the evolving demands of growth and technological advancements. Figure 1. e decommissioned East Coast Railroad, shown on the le, runs alongside the Overseas highway (US-1). (Image source: www.source


7IntroductionDuring the Industrial Age, America began building roads to connect towns and industry. Towns soon grew into cities at an exponential rate. Technological advancements brought social and economic changes that were perpetuated by development and the production of goods. Goods were produced rapidly, and trade reached new places with inventions such as the steam engine. The externalities promoted both the good and the bad that came with globalization. Advancements in medicine contributed to population growth, helping to reduce infant mortality and lengthen people’s lives. However, industrialization endorsed the pollution that led to global climate change. The use of fossil fuels was implemented and uncontrolled. It wasn’t until the 1970’s that the aftermath was evident and environmental policies required that pollution levels be monitored. The chain of events that stemmed from the Industrial Age iconized an era, the anthropocentric era. The Industrial Age left a footprint still visible today. At the onset of the new millennium, the world is threatened by limited resources, a growing population, and the consequences of climate change. One attempt to improve the situation, buildings claim to save money and resources and have a positive impact on the health of occupants, while promoting renewable, clean energy. (Council, 2016) Additionally, the EPA spends billions of dollars cleaning up old industrial sites. The agency directly funds job training. (Agency, 2015) These are only a few examples of initiatives designed to repair and stop the damage caused by prior generations; however, even these attempts strain natural and The Nile, Bahia Honda, and Marathon bridges, relics from the East Coast Railway: Keys Extension, fall into this category. Fundamental infrastructure was abandoned because these bridges were considered merely a product plus. An example of a product plus is a water bottle. The water bottle is the product the consumer wants, but consumer also gets a plastic bottle even though they do not need it. (Braungart, 2001) Now that the bridges have served their purpose, what will be done with the remaining materials? These remnant bridges are technical waste, and technical metabolism is an open loop. In closed loops, by contrast, waste equals food. For example, fallen leaves become nutrients for the tree in biological metabolism. The term “sustainability” has relatively recently made its debut in academia. The world commission on environment and development used “sustainable” in 1987 to refer to meeting the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs. (Oxford, 1987) Communities can become sustainable by balancing economic, environmental, and equity demands. (Chakrabarti, 2013) To be considered sustainable means meeting the needs of today’s generation while still meeting the needs of future generations. Biotic and natural functions are normally sustainable when without human stressors. Nature has builtby nature can regulate an ecosystem, building biodiversity and resiliency. (Ewel) After a product or development has deteriorated beyond repair, redevelopment can still restore equilibrium. Technology changes and so do people’s needs. Once something has been used, degraded, and/or damaged, restoration is often possible. Stability can be achieved Sustainability, when viewed as a triangle, has three spectrums: economy, equity, and environment. There are three possible scenarios, and each has a prescription to restore balance. (Campbell, 1996) If the economic and environmental components have tension, the solution is to look toward the property’s quality. If the economic and equity mechanisms diverge, stability can be restored through the manipulation of resources. can be found in development initiatives. (Campbell, 1996) By identifying these roles and tensions, solutions can be determined for failing developments and ensure redevelopment into a sustainable community. Harmut Gaese, a German


8 researcher for the Institute for Technology, shows how ALL global burdens can be traced back to environmental conditions. He further notes the critical linkage found between sustainable development and environmental health. (Gaese, 2012) sustainability means uniting design with biotic and abiotic functions. Ecological integrity and the protection of ecosystems are also essential. In fact, ecological restoration is part of the solution when attempting to ensure environmental sustainability. Design quality should overlap with environmental conditions. For example, an architect might orient a building towards the southwest for optimal solar panel radiation. Another example of environmental sustainability is using a Low Impact Design. Economy involves objectives for economic scenarios. Equity refers to regulation, which has the public interest as its priority (Campbell, 1996) Infrastructures such as roads and utilities greatly impact whether or not a community is sustainable. (Malizia, 2013) Roadways have primary (direct) and secondary (indirect) impacts on their surroundings, including noise, pollution, and wildlife fatalities. (Hoctor, 2015) Usually regulated by county taxes, city taxes, or the neighborhood TIF, roads and utilities consume a large portion of community funds. In terms of their environmental impact, roads are a source of pollution to water resources. Storm runoff seeps into streams, rivers, and lakes. As land is converted from pervious to impervious materials, natural drainage patterns are altered or impeded, resulting in higher velocities and quantities of storm water. Roads are also a serious threat to wildlife. Any development will leave its footprint on the surrounding natural ecosystem services. Literature provides sustainable recommendations on how When it comes to development, redevelopment is the best practice. For example, some cities have converted the technical waste from outdated transit to extend the product of service. The High Line in New York is one such example. An old rail was abandoned and then revitalized into a pedestrian park. Now it has grown into a cultural hotspot and amenity for citizens. (Friends of the High Line, 2016) Other small steps are being made in construction as well: bio-swales permeable surfaces are used to reduce runoff to improve storm water management. (McDonough & Braungart) However, since technology is constantly evolving and becoming outdated, the cultural mindset in the U.S. is to throw away and consume another. This is a challenge that many cities face; some cities are dumping new investments in the latest infrastructure and some are reinventing old systems. Both practices present budgetary challenges. Affording new investments and maintaining the old ones Economic Growth Success) These are the kinds of challenges facing the bridges of the Florida Keys.


9Problem StatementTwo passageways have been built to connect the Florida Keys with the peninsula of Florida. The was later amended to accommodate cars. The second, U.S. Highway-1, is now labeled a Florida Scenic Highway. Both roads have 52 bridges that showcase scenic ocean views. The ECR was the original corridor, lasting a mere 68 years. Mid-life, the ECR was amended into a road for automobiles but was eventually replaced by U.S. Highway-1 in 1980. For the past 36 years, the 52 ECR bridges have been retired and abandoned, left to slowly deteriorate in the weather. The ECR runs alongside the Overseas Highway and is either fragmented, decommissioned, or under construction. Monroe County has begun the process of revitalizing the ECR Bridges, and has just completed the design phases to start the construction for the Florida Keys Overseas Heritage Trail (FKOHT). The FKOHT is a county plan with the goal of providing safe recreation and open space through a non-motorized vehicle corridor. The FKOHT’s future plans will incorporate 49 of the 52 rail bridges into a bike trail, Monroe County’s contribution to a larger plan that will build a cycling and hiking trail from Key West up the east coast to Canada. The FKOHT incorporates all but three bridges, the Nile, Bahia Honda, and Seven Mile. But despite their nostalgic titles and historic status, these bridges are to remain severed and decommissioned. Sections of each of the three historic bridges are strictly cut off due to public safety concerns. The former ERC is in need of a design intervention that will enable the outdated infrastructure to meet public safety requirements while providing opportunities for adaptive reuse and recreation uses that meet the three sustainability criteria. Therefore, the goal of this project is to propose sustainable design solutions to repurpose the bridges. Figure 3.1 e Bahia Honda Brdige (2016) Figure 3.2 Signs, fences, and barricades prohibit access to the decommissioned bridges.


10 West a port city as big as the Panama Canal. The railroad connected the Floridian peninsula with 119 miles of uncharted chain-linked islands and the Conch Republic of Key West. The feasibility of transit came by building a total of 51 bridges. Innovative engineering gave the viaducts the ability to span up to seven engineering structures to use the construction technique of pour-in-place concrete. The doors were now open to trade goods to and from the 1935, a Labor Day hurricane began the demise of the engineering marvel, the storm surge and high winds blowing parts of it away. Overall, the assembly was extremely expensive, both in terms of money and the hundreds of lives lost when the hurricane hit during construction. The damage and repairs caused the company to go bankrupt. Ownership was then handed over to the Florida Department of Transportation (FDOT). The FDOT repaired the damage from the hurricane and slowly incorporated steel beams. The beams were placed on top of the tracks to widen the span to accommodate automobiles, which had become popular by the middle of the century. By 1980, all new construction replaced the original ECR bridges. The old bridges, however, were burdensome on resources and eventually the funds for upkeep of the ECR were vetoed. Salty conditions and a lack of maintenance led to the old rail bridges literally crumbling into the sensitive marine environment. The bridges were then severed in the middle to prohibit public access. Occasionally, however, people still pitch campsites. Currently, some of the bridges are being repurposed by the Florida Keys Overseas Highway Trail (FKOHT) rails to trail project, which will restructure the surface. There remain only three options: repair, replace, or remove. The Coast Guard prohibits three of the bridges from being re-structured since these bridges are not in compliance with the 40-65 foot clearances At the turn of the century, Henry M. Flagler was an entrepreneur and developer of the East Coast Railway Project. Throughout Flagler’s life, he was perhaps best known as John Rockefeller’s business partner, but today he is most remembered for his engineering marvel, the East Coast Railway: Keys Extension. The railroad initially ran from St. Augustine to Biscayne Bay, and then later extended down through the Florida Keys, eventually ending in the tropical island of Key West, which contained Florida’s largest city at the time, with a population of 20,000. Henry Flagler’s vision was for the railroad to make Key Figure 4.2 Developer of the East Coast Railway, Henry Flager (source Figure 4.1 Route for the East Coast Railway (source Railroad Gazette)


11 required for nautical navigation. (Krystal)


12 Diagram of research approachSustainability Project Statement East Coast Railway Identify Bridge Locations Locate Bathymetry Locate Topography Identify Landuse Identify Ecosystems Collect Demographic Information Identify East Coast Rail Construction Methods Identify Future County Plans Identify Historical InfoInventory ObjectivesMethodology


13 Identify Bridge Locations Locate Bathymetry Locate Topography Identify Landuse Identify Ecosystems Collect Demographic Information Identify East Coast Rail Construction Methods Identify Future County Plans Identify Historical Info Pennsylvania Mississippi Spain Washington Florida Florida FloridaCase StudiesMethodologySynthesisDesign Nile Bahia Honda 7 Mile Conclusion


14Site SelectionIt was my internship that brought me back to school with fond memories of the “salt life.” But it was my second trip that brought new realizations to light: it opened my eyes to the unsustainable development there. On the drives to work and the nights on the porch, I witnessed the abandonment of basic infrastructure and often wondered “Why?” I could not grasp why basic infrastructure was intentionally destructed and deserted, or why the plans recommended to simply start over with new structures. Fences now closed off the bridges that I had once rush. The viaducts stood with no function, lack ing purpose and service. Pedestrians couldn't even cross most of the bridges. Nothing I saw made sense; it went against approaches we had been taught in school: reuse, repurpose, build up not out, etc. When the bridges were severed to prohibit public access, they were also stripped of their basic function. Repurpose projects such as the High Line showed the potential for redevelopment. However, the location and other circumstances of the East Coast Railway present differ ent challenges. Some bridges have been blown away and connection is no longer feasible. However, after 30 years of abandonment, someone in planning saw potential in these bridges. The that there were seven. 1. Kemp Channel 2. Nile Channel 3. South Pine Channel 4. Spanish Harbor Channel 5. Bahia Honda Channel 6. Seven Mile Channel 7. Channel #5 With an exception to Channel #5, the dismem1 2 3 4 5 61. Kemp Channel 2. Nile Channel 3. South Pine Channel 4. Spanish Harbor Channel 5. Bahia Honda Channel 6. Seven Mile Channel N0 .5 1 MileFigure 5.1 Context Map with locations of fragmented bridges. e enlarged callouts show the islands with 2m bathymetric Callout Scale


15 bered bridges were clustered into what is known as the Middle Keys. Due to the distance of Channel #5, it was eliminated from the project. All but three will be incorporated into the FKOHT, which will connect to other trails that lead into Canada. The remaining bridges that en Mile channels are the selected sites for this repurpose project. Callout Scale


16 Site Inventory and Surrounding ContextData was collected from the city documents for planning purposes. The environment was considered with its native ecosystems. Historical documents were reviewed to fully understand the process of how The Keys became what they are today. The land in between Miami and Florida is a rock ridge that, once development started, kept growing. The Florida Keys can be generalized into four geographical areas for environmental, census, and regulation purposes. The four distinguished areas are Key West, the Lower Keys, Middle Keys, and Upper Keys. The southernmost bridge, Nile Channel is located in the Lower Keys. Bahia Honda Channel and Seven Mile Channel are considered to be located in the Middle Keys. Data from the US Census was gathered to collect demographics, poverty levels, property value, and household incomes from these areas. Geographical information located services and land uses. Land use fell into three typical patterns: residential, tourism, and services. Hotel/Motels dot the islands for tourists. Coral reefs, marine sanctuaries, and other natural life indigenous to the Keys bring in revenue from tourists. The unique typology of the local parks often takes advantage of their proximity to the ocean by offering boat ramps or picture opportunities for tourists driving through from Miami. Census data shows that the small neighborhoods have high vacancy rates. Services are limited to a few service markets. The Keys are comprised of outcrops made of either Key Largo Limestone or Miami Limestone, most with elevations of 1-2m above sea level. The limestone contains small pellets of calcium carbonate that compressed eventually create the Miami Oolite rock that is easily cut by hand tools. The hammock soils are made up of 3050% organic matter patched with sandy loam. The soil thickness averages 8-15 cm. The dry season lasts from October to May, followed by the wet season from June to September when most of the annual 60 inches of rain occurs. Figure 6.1 Generalized surface geology. Project sites are islands designated blue.The high winds, heavy rains, and storm surges restart the ecosystem succession, maintaining on the disturbance of the hurricane cycles and Hurricanes hit on average every 3 years, although to date it has been 10 years since the last named storm. (Ewel,1990) The tropical hammock canopy layer is made up of trees such as wild tamarind, gumbo-limbo, and The mid-story is made up of wild coffee, Jamaican dogwood, white stopper, Spanish stopper, crab wood, and black ironwood. The shade-tolerant Boston fern and sword fern make up the ground cover. The herbaceous epiphytes are the showy ferns, bromeliads, and orchids. Additionally, with (Ewel,1990) The transition from broad leaf hammock to salt tolerant mangroves is abrupt. There are also occasional freshwater wetlands. Transition zones to mangroves are dominated by buttonwood and Jamaican caper. Prickly pear cactus and apple cactus bear fruit. Lignum vitae are mostly seen


17 in Key West with diminishing varieties up The Keys. Historically, at the start of construction, Trichomanes krausii and T. punctatum were abundantly present; today, only a few sites Most fauna of The Keys is found in the southeast mainland with a few exceptions. There are several West Indian species of birds that are isolated in The Keys, such as mangrove cuckoo and black-whiskered vireo. More species were introduced from Cuba and the Bahamas. The Figure 6.2 Landuse map of islands adjacent to Nile Channelsmall-in-stature Key deer is isolated to the Big Pine Keys. (Ewel,1990) Nile Channel According to the US Census, the population for the Lower Keys region is 11,756. (United States Census Bureau, 2010) On the southern side of Summerland Key is Cudjoe Key, a mostly residential area with low poverty rates, at 10.1%. Of 1,703 residents, 1,686 are white and a median age of 55. Household income averages $65,000 per year. The median value of the housing is a whopping $385,900. Mobile homes account for 25% of the homes, and 27% of homes overall are used as seasonal rentals. Besides the residential land use, Cudjoe Key only has two mixed-use parcels. The next key up is Summerland Key. Summerland is connected to the north by Nile Channel. It is primarily used for residential and basic services. GIS data shows residential parcels are proportionate to Cudjoe. (Parcels_1044, 2011) Summerland is a small commercial area. Land use is more diverse here than in most of the Lower Keys, with a handful of mixed-use lots, three restaurants, one market, two gas stations, the two islands are permeated with residential canals, pointing to a strong relationship to the ocean by boat. Unfortunately, the community data points to car dependency. For the Lower Keys, only 0.8% of the population walks or bikes to work. On the north end of Summerland Key and is Ramrod Key. In comparison to the aforementioned Keys, Ramrod has the largest proportion of land dedicated to mixed-use stores for tourists. It is home to a few restaurants, a hotel, and tourist activities. The hotel offers boat shuttles to the offshore marine sanctuary, Looe Key. Census data is limited, but GIS comparison shows that the lot abundance and parcel size is similar to that in Cudjoe. Bahia Honda, Mile Marker 35 At mile marker 30 is Big Pine Key, one of the larger Keys, housing a corporate supermarket, marinas, several parks, tourist attractions, hotel/motels, churches, several restaurants and 629 companies. Big Pine Key’s demographics are similar to Cudjoe’s, as they are predominantly white with a median household income of $59,000; however, Big Pine Key has almost twice as many residential units as Cudjoe, with 1,202 of its 3,000 housing units vacant. Figure 6.3 Landuse map of the islands adjacent to Bahia Honda N N


18 Bahia Honda Spanish Harbor is at the north end of Big Pine Key at mile marker 33. Spanish Harbor Key has no residents, but it offers a boat launch to the public. Bahia Honda Channel separates Spanish Harbor Key and Bahia Honda State Park located at mile marker 33. Bahia Honda is 500 acres of both campgrounds and beaches. The Bahia Honda Bridge is an historic structure. Because of the water’s depth, the bridge was built differently than the rest of Flagler’s bridges. The original rail bridge is made of steel trusses that have a striking appearance and are worthy of cultural Figure 6.4 Landuse map of the adjacent islands to Seven Mile Channelappreciation. In 1938, a second deck was added has been left to the elements; the steel is losing the battle from salty corrosive conditions. Signs are posted to warn boaters of falling debris. However, a small portion of the bridge is open for the Bahia Honda State Park patrons who pay an entrance fee for park entrance that also has a portion of the bridge that has been restructured. (Bullet, 2014) Seven Mile Seven Mile Channel is located at mile marker 40. It stretches from Little Duck Key to Pigeon Key and then to Marathon Key. Little Duck Key has a boat launch as well as Veterans Memorial Park. Its small parks have picnic tables and pavilions for tourists driving from Miami to stop and appreciate the view. Pigeon Key, which has no residents today, is still accessible from the north end. Historically, it was a camp for the workers building the original rail bridges. The 5-acre island has been restored for daily and overnight rentals, a unique venue for social functions. The channel ends at Marathon Key, one of the largest Keys; its 8,000 residents have a median income of $56,000. Poverty is slightly higher here than in the Lower Keys, standing at 14.4%. Of the 5,749 housing units, 2,707 are vacant. Considering the median lot value is $309,000, this is not very surprising. The city of Marathon has schools, private airports, and parks; over 1,500 businesses, hotels, and plenty of mixed use land make it one of the most urbanized Keys. N


19Site Analysis Homes are generally unaffordable for the locals between average property value ($365,000) and median household income ($65,000). While the Florida Keys Overseas Heritage Trail (FKOHT) is the busiest park in the state, it produces no revenue. Bahia Honda State Park is almost always at capacity during tourist season, yielding $2.8 million in annual transactions. (Insight, 2013) The housing disparity is not the only negative aspect affecting the citizens. Sidewalks, which indirectly promote an active and healthy community, are lacking. (Malizia, 2013) Pedestrian conditions are less that optimal: most neighborhoods do not have sidewalks, and bus goers usually wait in the hot sun or rain. Bikers are only a few feet away from high speeding cars. Much of the developed areas are built so close to the edges that paths in commercial areas. (Michael Design Assoicates Planning Team, 2000) Not surprisingly, the Census reports that less than 1% of the residents walk or bike to work. Efforts from the EPA are being made to increase outdoors activities and to offset indoor air pollution. Tourists face challenges as well. Roughly 70% of tourists make the 3.5-hour drive from Miami. (Insight, 2013) Where are the bathrooms? Restrooms available for pedestrians and tourists are often off the beaten path in civic centers, schools, sheriff stations, and state parks, which have entrance fees. (See Appendix D) It seems illogical for a commute of this length not to have rest stops readily accessible. During a visit to the site, this was apparent; a few people were seen walking into the brush if no bathrooms were nearby. (Figure 7.1) The Nile Bridge (Figure 7.1) is located in between two islands that are densely populated with residents. The site offers accessibility to basic services in a desolate area. The county plans, however, do not to incorporate these bridges for pedestrian use. If this bridge were available, a walkable/bikeable community. Restaurants, This bridge has the potential to promote social activity and stimulate business. The Bahia Honda Bridge (Figure 7.2) has a special architectural quality. The steel beams are iconic to the landscape, allowing viewers a glimpse into the past. The north end of the bridge has a small portion that is accessible for park goers, but it stops abruptly. The south end has parking and opportunity. (Figure 7.2.1) An abandoned rock building and the steps to the old rail bridges are overrun with weeds. (Figures 7.2.4 and 7.2.5) The bridge’s steel is the most vulnerable to the weather and already has signs of deterioration. Bahia Honda is several miles away from residents in both directions, and its land use is geared toward the tourist of the state park. The Seven Mile Bridge has three segments. (Figure 7.3) The plan for the southernmost section is to create a walking pier and boat ramp. The middle section, which offers a view of Pigeon Key, has no plans for incorporation. The third section connects the historical buildings to the urbanized city of Marathon. Since the land conversion from natural to urban, this site would be an ideal place to recreate habitat. Because a large amount of ground was altered, it affected the migratory bird habitat. (Karim, 2007) This project could help repair the broken cycle.


20 Where does the sidewalk end? Here at Nile Channel. Fences and signs prohibit any access to the many of e Keys’ bridges. Nile channel lies between two residential Keys, Ramrod to the north and Summerland to the south. Between these two Keys, basic services such as places to buy food, a post oce, a hardware store, a hotel, and places for recreation are clustered. However, because these Keys are not joined, walking is discouraged. Stabilization seems to be a challenge. Steep slopes could potentially cause a public safety risk.Nile Channel A B C A B C


21 Combined with lack of maintenance and erosive conditions, spalling is a major structural threat. e dense landscape is oen the only alternative for drivers who have no easy access to public restrooms on the drive to e Keys. Bicyclists and pedestrians merge onto the bridges alongside automobiles traveling at high speeds. Returning to the pathway is dicult, as seen in Figures A and F. Consequently, the FKOHT is oen underutilized. D E F D E F


22 Bahia Honda is unique for its architectural qualities. It is the only double-decked bridge and the only bridge constructed out of steel beams. Tourists stop and take the photo opportunity that the scenic highway oers. Although labeled a historic structure, a por tion of Bahia Honda is accessible on the north end from the state park. is is what the rest of the bridge looks like. Signs warn boaters of falling debris.”Bahia Honda Channel A B C A B C D E


23 If one were to walk o the freshly paved pathway, they would stumble up cow paths that would eventually lead to a barricaded cli. Juxtaposed to the pristine north end of Bahia Honda, the south has signs of abandonment: crumbling pipes are exposed, and a building sign warns trespassers of arrest. On the north end of Bahia Honda is a state park. e park maintains a small portion of the old bridge for visitors to enjoy its scenic view. D E F F


24 On the south side of Seven Mile Bridge the public has access to a boat ramp. e abandoned Seven Mile Bridge has volunteer growth that was hung with holiday lights for a festive drive.Seven Mile Channel A B A B D


25 Birds are the only ones granted access to the isolated fragments. e height oers a predatory advantage.The public has limited access on the Seven Mile Once home to the workers of the rail, it now stands in honor of those who lost their lives in the Memorial Day Hurricane. C D C


26Case Studies Social Repurpose Projects The practice of repurposing outdated transit has been trending around the world. Citizens life cycle. Project programming is diverse depending on the location. The High Line in New York converted an old rail into a pedestrian park. Tunnels have been converted into bicycle paths like the one in San Sebastian, Spain. An abandoned rail was converted into bicycle lanes that promoted a healthier option of travel for this city notorious for its car dependency. Since the conversion, the tunnel serves only cost was $3.7 million (; however, the abandoned railway tunnel had some unexpected affordances. The tunnels’ architecture lowered humidity levels, making the commute much more pleasurable and a popular option of transportation. The Hot Metal Bridge in Pittsburg, PA was also originally a railway bridge that facilitated factory exports to the town across the river. The popularization of the personalized automobile was the catalyst for a new bridge. The path was expanded using the single set of existing columns. Today, the rail has been decommissioned; the tracks have been removed and remain open for cyclists and pedestrians to cross the waterway. Providing access to a space that is designated for pedestrian commutes promotes a healthier community. Its social impacts are documented to lower obesity and other health conditions that steam from lack of exercise. (Godschalk & Malizia) The Hot Metal Bridge and San Sebastian Bridge are examples from a time before regulation and design had been amended. The proposed design changes will allow accessibility for new users, which lifestyle. The 11th Street Bridge Park in Washington, D.C. was a project proposed to address environmental injustice. Two diverse communities are divided by a waterway. The lack of attraction to cross the water isolated any interaction between the two communities. One of the communities unjustly suffered from a high rate of obesity due to its lack of access to healthy food and recreation services. The bridge became a project to renew a meeting ground with cafs, lounging areas, and gardens that to invite users from both directions into one social space. The underserved community of Anacostia is expected to see an economic externality from the project development. This Figure 8.1 High Line (Image source: Figure 8.2 San Sebastian, Spain (Image source: Figure 8.3 11th Street Bridge (Image source: Figure 8.4 Hot Metal Bridge (Image source: wwwdirector. design is proposed to resolve social increasing the local economy. Environmental Repurpose Projects The Mississippi River is home to the proposed Kinetic Backbone project. The use of tidal power will grow into a social outreach program that


27 educates the public through interaction. The existing river conditions are degraded. Sediment locations, rather than having of one centralized location. This design project is focused on hydrokinetics to generate power for regional uses. Hydrokinetics can be divided into two subcategories: tidal barrages and hydrokinetic devices. Tidal barrages exploit the rise and fall of water levels for potential hydrostatic energy. Hydrokinetic devices distribute kinetic energy, but are sensitive to spring and neap tides greater than 13-14 feet. These devices usually incorporate mills that are maintenance intensive from breakage, and its environmental impacts have more impact than initially thought. These devices depend on tidal currents that generate acoustic waves. Nevertheless, the energy production is considered to be both sustainable and renewable. (Laberge) (Harrigan, 2011) Using natural resources to generate energy stimulates revenue sustainably. This proposed project would optimize the environmental and economic conditions. Working in such close proximity with the water, the spaces below the water line cannot be ignored. People have a connection with the water, whether it’s to explore the ocean or join ships become a diver’s delight. The Vandenberg is one of several sunken ships on the ocean the ship was a costly effort, consuming 70% of the $8.4 million budget to sink it. BahiaHistoric. and attracts recreational divers. Broward County offers recreational divers the opportunity to explore an underwater cemetery, a very unique way to be memorialized. Neptune Reef has plaques that are made from ashes and cement to symbolically represent the lost city. (Harrigan) The recreation of an underwater park positively being, providing activities for a healthy lifestyle and those who have died in the construction of the bridges. Figure 8.5 Kinetic Backbone (Image source: Figure 8.6 Vandenberg Shipwreck (Image source: www.vacationidea. com) Figure 8.7 Neptune Reef (Image source: www.uscubacats.wordpress. com)


28Limitations The Florida Keys is a harsh environment for limitation is environmental. The integrity of the material and its performance will constantly be under threat. Salty air becomes corrosive to all metals and paints. Furthermore, all land and structures are at risk from storm surge and high wind velocities common in seasonal storms. Design solutions in The Keys have been narrowed down due to site restrictions. Accessing natural tides and hydrologic power appeared to be an inappropriate course. After research on tidal power generation, it became clear that the marine life would be at risk. The turbines generate acoustic waves that would impact the shoreline, most of which is composed of sensitive mangroves and/or residences. The populations. Tourists are attracted to The Keys these reasons, hydrological power is not viable. The National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) rates Florida low on wind power, which has therefore been ruled out. The NREL has also determined that Florida is a mediocre location for solar energy. (See Appendix B1 &B2) Converting the concrete road extension into Being conscious of the location is imperative. The further from shore the viaducts extend, the higher the intensity of current, which poses a safety threat. The Bahia Honda Bridge is the only using these materials would not be economically feasible. The remediation of toxins is a costly process that would strain an already tight budget. The abandoned bridge, as stated previously, has debris that is falling into the water, where toxins are penetrating in the ocean slowly. The Nile Channel links two islands that are dotted with businesses to serve residents. Upon visiting the site 6 cyclists were forced onto US-1 with cars passing by at 45-60 miles an hour, a potential threat to safety. A proposed viaduct to link the for a healthier community. According to county professionals, the budget would have to allow for structures to be extended above the required height minimums enforced by the Coast Guard. As a result, reconnections of these bridges seem The appeal of the Florida Keys can be attributed to the stunning views of the surrounding ocean as well as the recreational opportunities it affords. Picturesque sunsets are visible from every bridge. The isolated location reduces light pollution so shooting stars and constellations can be showcased. It is the landscape that has and relaxation. Design proposals should complement views of the ocean and night sky and in no way create visual clutter.


29Project GoalsThis project’s design goals are to implement a sustainable design by using the abandoned structure as the skeleton for a repurpose project. The design research seeks a holistic approach towards adaptive reuse with sensitivity to the environment, considerations for economic components of a three-pronged approach towards sustainable design. To avoid repeating history, attention must be directed to project life cycles, including the use of materials that will be best suited best for the environment. The research investigated solutions for the bridges to restore ecosystems as well as contribute to local economies and social wellbeing. The accessibility to Key West via the Overseas Highway has promoted development of residents has contributed to the loss of the native tropical hammocks that once occupied virtually the entire upland area of the Florida Keys. (Karim, 2007) Tropical Hammocks have a direct relationship with 35 migratory bird species. (Karim, 2007) Can reusing the bridges help restore the native tropical hammock ecosystem to provide a habitat for migratory birds that are a conservation concern? The economics of the Florida Keys is largely based on tourism, so an understanding of its industry is essential in developing a plan. Only remainder drive to their destinations. (Insight, 2013) Tourism is the basis for the economy, and it depends on the viaducts through The Keys. This design research’s ambition is to support the local economy by providing a service to tourists. Finding an adaptive reuse for the bridges will satisfy the wants of the people in The Keys. The public expressed their desire to preserve the bridges through two groups, Friends of the Seven Mile and the Governor’s Task Force on Old Keys Bridges. ( Michael Design Assoicates Planning Team, 2000) Is it possible for an adaptive reuse to be implemented that will pay homage to the original bridges, satisfy the desires of the public, and remain intact for future generations to enjoy? By preserving history, restoring native ecosystems adjacent to the Overseas Highway, and contributing to The Keys’ tourism industry, wellbeing of the landscape.


30Design Proposal Environmental conditions present a challenge for any development in the Florida Keys, especially for bridges. Salty air and storm surges have been the demise of structures for years. Storms consistently wipe out bridges. Man and his materials have failed in their attempt against Mother Nature. It is time to end the pattern of destruction and create a responsive design solution that repurposes the viaducts while being conscious of the environment and sustainable practices. The remnants of the East Coast Railway are potentially a base for the infrastructure of a repurpose project. Repurposing the East Coast necessary to restore structural stability. Then, the design should respond to the harsh environmental conditions while remaining sensitive to marine life. Finally, bringing in a new source of revenue for the railway. The book Cradle to Cradle by Michael Braungart and William McDonough addresses an era after industrialization. It promotes upcycling materials. Being cognizant of the materials’ deterioration and energy cycles allows people to convert “waste into food.” The East Coast Railway: Keys Extension was a child of industrialization. But with the Florida Keys’ environmental conditions breaking down technical material and creating structural instability, Context Map Plan A Plan B Plan C deterioration was inevitable for the East Coast Railway. Today, the bridges are technical waste, a safety hazard, and useless. Cradle to Cradle’s theory offers guiding principles on how to capture waste and embrace the material change that the environment dictates. Location Map


31Nile channel (Plan A)Nile Bridge has an opportunity to help the community. The bridge runs northeast to southwest. East is the Atlantic Ocean, but with a 180-degree pivot one can enjoy a view of the sunset over the Gulf of Mexico. This design for the Nile Bridge uses the original infrastructure as the foundation for a building addition that minimizes resource consumption. In the book Last Child in the Woods, Richard Louve explains that with technology we lose knowledge. It is not unlike the way the convenience of air conditioning and heating has abolished the abundance of architecture that was conditions. For example, prior to central air conditioning, a window was commonly installed at the peak of a roof for natural ventilation, the technique known as the Venturi effect. Bill Rowan, an architect in Key West, has this feature in his house. Although his entire house was built in the open air, midday during the hottest time Plan A: Nile Channel N1 Mile 0 .5 Mile Enlargement A-1 A A1 ScalePlan A Section A-A1 21’-0” 26’-0” 13’-0” 2’-6” = 1’-0”e long overhangs protect the shelter from rain and also help pull air up towards the windows that are located at the cardinal points for circulation. Pier beyond B B1Proposed Rest StopSummerland Key Ramrod Key Existing Proposed


32 of the year was surprisingly comfortable with a cooling breeze. on utilities. The need for electric lighting and air conditioning is eliminated. The extended overhangs protect the shelter from rain. If a similar structure were built on Nile Bridge, it would optimize the east and west viewpoints. East would become a space for the muchneeded bathrooms for tourists and cyclists. The Atlantic Ocean would provide a lovely view and be an ideal spot from which to witness a famous Key West sunset. (Figure 11.1) The main proposed function of the Nile Bridge is to provide the public with a social space and bathroom facilities. The environment does not but the implementation is environmentally conscious. The architect, Mr. Rowan, designed the building with the Venturi effect to facilitate air circulation. The roof is divided into two portions, a large bottom and a smaller peak that has windows at the top. The air is bottlenecked architecture reduces resource consumption. The Nile proposal offers a service that is supportive of the tourism industry and residents that showcases the scenic vistas within a comfortable micro-climate. With seating areas under a Figure 11.1 e new US-1 is arched, locating the proposed rest stop at the peak height will allow a panoramic view of the oceans. (Image source: REMOVE 1940’ S ROAD MODIFICATIONSPlan A Section B-B1 P IER B E Y OND NEW P ATH WITH 2’” R AILINGS 13’”


33 Nile Channel Bridge uses the original concrete arches for a rest stop. The open air pavilion provides bathrooms and areas to witness the famous Keys sunsets. Bathrooms face the west for scenic ocean views while still providing privacy. US Highway 1 Proposed Rest Stop Locations (See A-A1)Plan A Enlargement A-1 N0 500 Ft Scale Bridge Gap


34 picnic, or watch the sunset. Bahia Honda Channel (Plan B)The Bahia Honda Bridge design mitigates the design failures of the bridge itself and has a positive environmental impact. Steel was a poor choice as a material in The Keys. The steel could not be maintained against the sun, wind, salt, and water. Furthermore, the protective paint coat standards originally used were designed to last only two years. (Patterson, 1912) Aesthetically, however, the trusses hovering over the ocean do create a scenic landscape. With this project, the Bahia Honda Bridge life cycle will be extended. The a native tree that begins in the nooks and crannies of canopies and sends down aerial roots that wrap around a host trunk, usually a Sabal Palm; it is not until the roots meet the ground that the tree is then strangled out. Proposed propagated strangler Figure 11.3 An example of a living bridge made from a g tree in Meghalaya, India. (Image source: File:Living_root_bridges,_Nongriat_village,_Meghalaya2.jpg) logs should be placed at the end triangles of the trusses to direct the roots down to the soil boxes. The fast-growing roots will then wrap down the trusses to the pilings where pilling soil boxes are installed to provide nutrients. In time, the steel beams will be wrapped with N1 Mile 0 .5 MileScaleBahia Honda KeySpanish Harbor Key US Highway 1RESTORED PORTION OF B AHIA H ONDA B RIDGE Strangler Fig BridgePlan B: Bahia Honda Channel


35 can be trained to become paths for pedestrians, similar to the living bridge in Meghalaya, India. Another option would be to attach rope bridges to stretch the spans between trunks to create a pedestrian viaduct. When the railway was amended for the automobile, a concrete road was added above the trusses to create a doubledecked bridge. This addition will be removed to reduce the weight. The vertical steel supports can be repurposed to temporally add structural support during the plant maturity period. A consultation with a structural engineer is needed to ensure proper reinforcement methods. Time becomes an imperative design component. Bahia Honda aims to retain the architectural beauty of the trusses that would have otherwise but still require a dedicated amount of effort during the growth period. After this period, the tree maturity rope bridges may be attached to the trunks to reestablish a pedestrian connection. The bridge design uses nature to stabilize a historical structure. Nature was once Bahia REMOVE UPPER D ECK COUNTERWEIGHT SUPPORT TO BE ATTACHED TO PILING A TTACH SOIL BO X 50’X14’X5’S ECURE SOIL BO X AND COUNTER WEIGHT TO EXISTING PILINGA A1Plan B Section A-A1100’ 0 50’Scale L OCATION FOR S TRANGLER FIG SEED L OCATION FOR NUTRIENT LOGS B AHIA HONDA TRUSS S PANS RANGE FROM 90’’ IN LENGTH WITH 14’” WIDTHS & 32’” HEIGHTS


36 2 3 4 1 2 3 4 5 6 Remove Upperdeck Planted Seed Soil Box Attached to Piling and Additional Piling Attached Sabal Palm Living Bridge


37 6 1 Bahia Honda’s Bridge Design restores the historical bridge’s architecture by removing the upper portion of the double deck. Palm tree trunks will then be attached to the truss edges to provide palm trunks and steel trusses to eventually reach a soil box placed on the pilings. Once the roots are


38 Honda's weakness, but now with the amendment nature is its strength. Seven Mile ChannelThe Seven Mile Bridge design recreates historic ecosystems that have been lost or altered by development. (Ewel) This thesis also addresses the tropical hammock habitat loss impacts on resident and neotropical migratory birds. The land use conversion eliminated the habitat of bird stopover areas where migrating birds refuel. Seven Mile is the longest bridge in the Florida Keys. The isolated spot can give back habitat that has been lost. The FKOHT is using two of the three segments in the rails to trails plan. With the viewing piers that already exist in the FKOHT plans, tourist and citizens would only be able to observe from piers or by boat. The amendments that were added in the 1940’s for the automobile would be removed to strip the bridge down to the original structure. The original method of construction formed hallowed pits in the pilings, these would be the areas designated for deep root plantings. The areas over the arches are the locations for shallow root plantings such as shrubs and ground covers. The canopy cover of tropical hammock had direct impacts on 35 bird species, one of which is a conservation concern, the black whiskered vireo. (Karim, 2007) It would be a poetic juxtaposition for a man-made foundation to support ecological conservation. The native tropical hammock trees would offer food from the Plan C: Seven Mile Channel 10’-0” 0 5’-0”Scale FINAL SURFACE DRAINAGE TOWARDS PILINGS 2” IN DIAMETER WEEP HOLES 2’-0” ON CENTER A A1Plan C Enlargement A (TYP)




40 fruit trees, Wild tamarind and Wild Coffee. It would also be important to ensure invertebrates in the soil to also contribute to the bird’s dietary needs and help attract. The Seven Mile Bridge design provides a habitat for migratory birds. Recreating the tropical hammock habitat provides natural food sources and resting areas for over 35 different species of birds. PLANT LISTWOODY VEGETATION GUMBO LIMBO BURSERA SIMARUBA WHITE STOPPER EUGENIA AXILLARIS PIGEON PLUM COCCOLOBA DIVERSIFOLIA WILD TAMARIND LYSILOMA LATISSILIQUA HERBACIOUS VEGETATION PANCI GRASS PANICUM DICHOTOMUM BASKET GRASS OPLISMENUS SETARIUS BOSTON FERN NEPHROLEPIS EXALTA SWORD FERN NEPHROLEPIS BISERRATA WOOD FERN THEYLPYTERIS KUNTHII A A1


41 fruit trees, Wild tamarind and Wild Coffee. It would also be important to ensure invertebrates in the soil to also contribute to the bird’s dietary needs and help attract. Soil substrate with invertebrates. Depth: 2’-0”(min) 6’-0”(max) 1’-0” Aeration substrate Drainage board Foam Fill Weep Holes @ 2’-0” O. C. A A1 B B1 Root Barrier Soil substrate with invertebrates. Depth: 2’-0”(min) 6’-0”(max) 1’-0” Aeration substrate Drainage board Root Barrier Plan C: Section A-A1Plan C: Section B-B1Weep Holes @ 2’-0” O. C.


42ConclusionInfrastructure can be a great investment. However, it is expensive to build and maintain. Ideally, a smart investor should start with sustainable concepts, thinking about future adaptation for other uses and resiliency in the given conditions. The East Coast Railway was expensive to construct in terms of human life, money, resources, and environmental costs. Resources were imported from as far away as Germany. When infrastructure has a long life cycle, it increases the value of the investment. When it is not possible for infrastructure to be maintained, then recycling is an option. It would be ideal to incorporate all of the decommissioned bridges into the FKOHT. However, the circumstances for the bridges are cannot be incorporated into the FKOHT plan. It would be too costly to engineer an appropriate structure that would reconnect the bridges and also meet the height clearance requirement for the U.S. Coast Guard. Nevertheless, these constraints can still permit smart growth practices, i.e. adaptive reuse for the existing structures. The bridges represent a culture that has evolved from industry to convenience and disposability. As McDonough and Baungart discussed, technical metabolism is often an open loop. An ideal design project would promote something similar to biological metabolism, where waste equals food or resources, closing the loop. When the bridges were decommissioned, the structures became a waste. This project's adaptive reuse design uses the original structure, which helps reduce the gap in the loop, but does not close it. There is an opportunity to research a way to recycle the concrete that needs to be removed to close the technological metabolism. rubric of sustainability. Campbell’s approach to achieving sustainability by identifying component. Hence, there is always a component that is not as strongly represented as the other two. When addressing the stressors within the elements of sustainability, the two elements that overlooked. The designs were spearheaded from the synthesis that directed the design prescription. For each bridge design it was evident that the existing circumstances offered areas of opportunity to directly elaborate on one sustainable component. Nile Bridge had a population density cluster (social), Bahia Honda had an environmental factor has been a common thread throughout the bridges' history and remains part of the future plans. Further study opportunities for the Seven Mile Bridge include measuring the impacts of recreating the native ecosystems and documenting bird population and species diversity. The provision of viewing piers could help measure the impacts the bridge has on tourism and educational awareness. However, the restricted access limits public interaction. This barrier could result in a backlash from the public for building something that is inaccessible. Such a project raises the question of funding, stakeholders, and process this project would entail. With the construction of the FKOHT, it is also important to monitor any change in pedestrian transportation patterns. Currently, with the exception of Key West, in the Florida Keys less than 1% of residents walk or bike to work. Overall, this project addresses concerns with infrastructure and advancements in technology. The East Coast Railway was built to accommodate the train, and then the automobile was invented and popularized. Once the personalized vehicle was commercialized, this new technology replaced the railway and created a new demand for roads. Future research and development projects should consider this question: how can infrastructure be prepared to adapt and/or grow with technological advancements?


43Appendix AProfessional Expertise A.1 Mitzi Crystal: Transportation Planner, Monroe County 11/25/2015 During a brief telephone conversation, Crystal discussed the county’s plans with the bridges owned by the Florida Department of Environmental Protection (FDEP). The county has plans to refurbish the overhead portions of the bridges to convert them into the Florida Keys Heritage Trail (FKOHT). The FKOHT will also be structurally sound for automobiles for use in emergency evacuations. The Coast Guard requires a 40’-65’ clearance for nautical navigation, which prohibits the Nile, Seven Mile, and Bahia Honda channels from being incorporated into the bike trail. Crystal mentioned that the Seven Mile and Bahia Honda are both listed as historical structures and are sacred to the people living in The Keys. The FDEP has recently requested $3.5 million for reconstruction of the Bahia Honda Bridge. A.2 Bridge Inspector: 12/21/2015 During a site visit, a bridge inspector was conducting work. He was inspecting the new refurbished Kemp Channel. He offered information concerning the concrete. He explained how the pilings are wrapped with antidote to stop the corrosion of the interior rebar, since concrete spalling is the most evident threat to structural integrity.


44Appendix B The NREL Maps show the national suitability for solar power and wind power. Florida is rated low for both, thus eliminating solar and wind power generation from design programming. B.1 B.2


45 Appendix CConstruction methods for the East Coast Railway were obtained from the Railroad Gazette. Dimensions, materials and methods guided design for adaptive reuse.


46 Appendix DCharts from the Florida Keys Overseas Heritage Trail show locations of bathrooms. The lack of facilities was a driving force for the adaptive reuse design on Nile Bridge Channel.




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49 Patterson, F. (1912). The Florida East Coast Extension. History of the Key West Project: Details United States Census Bureau. (2010). American Fact Finder. US Department of Commerce.