• We Have Too Many Stroads

    by  • November 28, 2011 • Engineering • 0 Comments

    by Chuck Marohn

    Cross-posted in Strong Towns

    It's not really a street or a road. It's something trying to be both.

    It’s not really a street or a road. It’s something trying to be both.

    Americans do not understand the difference between a road and a street.

    Roads move people between places while streets provide a framework for capturing value within a place.

    The value of a road is in the speed and efficiency that it provides for movement between places. Anything that is done that reduces the speed and efficiency of a road devalues that road. If we want to maximize the value of a road, we eliminate anything that reduces the speed and efficiency of travel.

    The value of a street comes from its ability to support land use patterns that create capturable value. The street with the highest value is the one that creates the greatest amount of tax revenue with the least amount of public expense over multiple life cycles. If we want to maximize the value of a street, we design it in such a way that it supports an adjacent development pattern that is financially resilient, architecturally timeless and socially enduring.

    These simple concepts are totally lost on us, especially those in the engineering profession…[Instead] [o]ur neighborhoods are filled with STROADS (a street/road hybrid) that spread investment out horizontally…[e.g.] a Wal-Mart, a couple of gas stations and a Pet Smart. Does anyone believe for a second that, without this investment, people wouldn’t find a way to buy cheap imported goods, gasoline and dog food? The United States has six times the retail space per capita of any European country! There are diminishing returns here. We’re long past anything that makes economic sense…

    Read more of a “45 mph world”>>>


    • Can a Stroad Ever Be a “Complete Street”?

    The Important Difference Between a Road and A Street

    Do Conversations Like This Still Happen in 2011?

    Wider. Straighter. Smoother. Faster.

    First, Do No Harm to Pedestrians and Bicyclists

    “Complete Streets” = Routine Accommodation


    James Wilson is the executive director of Bike Delaware. He is a member of the Association of Pedestrian and Bicycle Professionals (by whom he was named the 2014 Professional of the Year, Nonprofit Sector), the Institute of Transportation Engineers and the Delaware Bicycle Council. He serves on the board of directors of Delaware Greenways and the Delaware Valley Smart Growth Alliance and as the co-chair of the policy committee of the Advisory Council on Walkability and Pedestrian Awareness. He holds engineering degrees from Yale University and the University of Texas at Austin and is the only registered lobbyist for cycling and walking in Delaware. He helped create, and continues to lead Bike Delaware's participation in, the Walkable Bikeable Delaware campaign. During his tenure as Bike Delaware's executive director, Delaware advanced in the national Bicycle Friendly State rankings for five years in a row, farther and faster than any other state, ever.

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