by Chuck Marohn
Cross-posted in Strong Towns
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”>>>