In California we have something called the "California Environmental Quality Act" (CEQA, pronounced "see-qua"). The result of this law is that development projects must identify potential environmental impacts. An impact is identified - for example - the sound of screaming guests on a roller coaster being heard in a residential neighborhood next to the development. If the impact is large enough it must be mitigated. In this case screams are mitigated with 'scream shields' on the roller coaster preventing screams from traveling in the direction of the neighborhoods next door.
That is an oversimplification of a very long process that involves scoping, public meetings, feedback, rewrites and eventual certification of the Environmental Impact Report. This all has to happen *prior* to the development being approved. If someone wants to search through Anaheim documents and meeting minutes from the mid/late 90's that would be the place to find out for sure why the shields are in place.
This isnt directed at you 24601 (welcome here :) ), so dont feel that it is in any way.
Here is where I sigh, look aimlessly at my computer and state that I don't actually think that the "scream tubes" are in no way for sound suppression, even though in my argument It may have sounded that way (even though I tried to make it prominent that it was most likely that their design was to block views, and other purposes were not out of the question). I do however belive that their overall design was indeed affected by the desire to block views of urban LA which would detract from the asthetic of the ride.
All that said, this is a design thread with a specific design focus on incorporating the noise-limiting requirements. Screamin's failure to address the visual isolation of the park (a sad theme of DCA 1.0) is somewhat related and is a consideration that we can take into account in our designs, but probably merits its own thread.
In other news, I finally saw your concept art--for some reason the image hadn't been showing up before. I like the style, but I don't think it's the most suitable structure for supporting a scream tube...I think the colonnade does that more successfully. But, I think the arches would be useful to further Victorianize (not a word, I know!) the attraction, and would help prevent the scream tubes from sticking out like a sore thumb like they do now, as they are the only things above the track. Your archways, combined with the fence or lattice that professortango described, would go very nicely with the colonnade, further theme the attraction, and help with the views.
While on Screamin tho, the places where you can see the most are covered actually. This is at the top of both hills where you are going the slowest and are most likely to look around. The first tube goes over the peak of the first hill and down so you cant look straight out, while the second tube over the long lift hill starts right where the car hits the lift hill chain speed. For these reasons I think that they serve the dual purpose. Of course, putting the tube on every section you can see over the outer wall would have looked even worse.
As for the concept art, it was not originally supposed to support anything. It would stand alone as arches for decorative effect. However the ammendment would see a solid panel rising along one side that would have a mural along it. There would be no roof as well (who cares if sound or wandering eyes go toward space?). So there you go.
Here is a modification of my original (terrible) artwork to show what possibly could be used.
I actually like the view. Of course I am a local and like seeing the various landmarks that I am familiar with. But during the winter when there's snow on the mountains the view can really be quite beautiful.
The tubes on Screamin aren't even close to being for the purpose of blocking your view. There are other, slower moving sections of screamin that have no tubes/shields, (the lift hill, for example). The big circle behind the loop is a scream shield as well - they just tried to disguise it as a big Mickey.
There's no view blocking taking place on the Maliboomer, the Fun Wheel, the Jellyfish, and even the top of the GRR lift hill gives views of outside of DCA. It makes literally no sense that the tubes are view blockers. They are placed in the exact spots where screams are most likely occuring - the fast first incline after the launch, the big drop after the lift hill, and the loop.
There's just no evidence or reason whatsoever that they are to block views, and a ton of evidence and reasons as to why they block sound.
I've been playing with that idea for months now and it takes until today for people to tell me I'm wrong? (with force) haha
I agree that the tubes are hideous and need to be removed or updated. They take away from the ride and would much prefer nothing there or it better looking at least.
Well from whats been established, they cannot be removed, only modified.
Sadly, they do have to be there...the lattices that I originally suggested are a fairly minimalist approach to solving the most egregious problems, and that could (hypothetically) have the coaster refurbed and enhancing the sightlines of Paradise Pier fairly quickly. (plus the queue & sign)
The ideal solution, though, would be to go all-out in Victorianizing* the coaster, with colonnades to disguise the sound blockers, arches for theme, and lattices/fences/spires to block the visual intrusion of modern Anaheim. This would justify Screamin' as a fully immersive coaster, and one that would be closer to Walt's standards. I don't hold out much hope for them to invest this much in the theming, but, hey, we can dream!
*Still not a real word, but I've decided to grant it honorary wordliness.**
**That's not a real word either...this could turn into a vicious cycle.
If this were not even partially true, the tube wouldn't be half open toward the park, and if you notice, on the side of the coaster nearest the outside of the park, there is a decorative "wall" up that obsures views of the outside world.