Strategies for Turning High-Traffic Stroads into
Livable Streets

If that’s your goal, this will be among the best content you’ll ever discover.

A  Stroad  is a  Street / Road  hybrid  -  the  Futon  of Transportation.   
-- Charles Marohn, Founder of StrongTowns.org

Great Couch
Great Bed
Futon
Great Street
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Great Road
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Stroad
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Like an uncomfortable couch that also serves as an uncomfortable bed, a Stroad
tries to move cars fast, and tries to serve communities, but does both poorly.     

The Stroad to Hell is Paved with Good Intentions
Text of song compared to original below
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These Are Streets

Streets are important for wealth-building, community gathering, and satisfaction with urban living.

 

They are often a mix of commercial and residential. They are friendly to walking, biking, transit, and vehicles.

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These Are Roads

Roads are important for moving quickly between focal-points. 

 

Adjacent uses are ideally accessed indirectly from a street.   

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These are "Stroads"

“Stroads” are pernicious, dangerous hybrids that try to serve both economic development and high-speeds, but do neither well.

 

If you want to cultivate walkability, Stroads are arsenic in your Petri dish.  They make it impossible to create a safe, walkable, livable environment.

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Tools for Turning Stroads into Livable Streets

Two-way stroads almost always have cross-sections of four or more lanes.  Speed limits are usually 35-50, but in reality most will drive about 10-mph faster, restrained mainly by fear of getting a ticket.  Yet despite fast cruise speeds, average "A to B" speeds are far less due to complex 4-phase traffic signals and general congestion exacerbated by those signals.  

 

The “Complete Street” and "Livable Street" movements aim to tame Stroads, but when an arterial serves 25,000 to 70,000 vehicles per day, most traffic engineers are leery of "traffic calming" proposals that might reduce A to B speeds even more than signals and congestion already do.  There are a few livability-minded engineers who are willing to champion traffic calming on high-volume arterials, but they are stuck in a conundrum... How do you actually do it? 

 

With such volumes, it seems there is no choice but to have at least 2-lanes each direction, along with center median lanes and double-left lanes at key intersections.  That is a LOT of hardscape, and a lot of dangerous conflicts with pedestrians and other vehicles.  It's a greased and squealing pig, with planners and engineers trying to find ways to calm the pig long enough to apply lipstick, hoping the result will attract mixed-use development.  "Good luck with that!"

Don't just put lipstick on the pig! 
Contact us to transform your stroad into a far more beautiful creature. 

We've figured out how!

Urban Innovators, together with Metro Analytics, helped lead the recently published NCHRP 917 guidebook on Rightsizing.  We also helped lead NCHRP 08-124, a Corridor Management effort.  Mike Brown, our founder, is a key member of TRB's Committee on Alternative Intersections (AKD80), due to his leadership in using innovative design to bridge the gap between engineers who must move traffic, and communities who need great 7D Places.

Take Me Home, Country Stroads

by Andy Singer, modified slightly by Urban Innovators

Hellish strip mall, in Virginia,

Fast food & Walmart, endless subdivisions,

Life is drab here, they paved over the trees!

Roadkill & garbage, blowin' in the breeze,

COUNTRY STROADS, take me home, 

Past the blight, near my job!

Endless red lights, no enjoyment,

Take me home, Country Stroads.

Take Me Home, Country Roads

Original, by John Denver

Almost heaven, West Virginia,

Blue Ridge Mountains, Shenandoah River
Life is old there, older than the trees,

younger than the mountains, blowing like a breeze
Country roads, take me home

to the place I belong!

West Virginia, mountain mamma,

Take me home, country roads