Strategies for Turning High-Traffic Stroads into
If that’s your goal, this will be among the best content you’ll ever discover.
Futon: an uncomfortable couch, AND an uncomfortable bed.
Stroad: tries to be vibrant, AND tries to be fast, but does both poorly.
These Are Streets
Streets are for wealth-building, community gathering, happiness.
They are often a mix of commercial and residential. They are friendly to walking, biking, transit, and vehicles.
These Are Roads
Roads are important for moving quickly between focal-points.
Adjacent uses are usually accessed indirectly, from a street.
These are "Stroads"
“Stroads” are pernicious, dangerous hybrids. They try to serve both economic development and high-speeds, but do neither well.
Stroads are arsenic in your Petri dish: impossible to create a safe, walkable, livable environment.
Placemaking Alternative Intersections can turn
Stroads into Livable Streets
Two-way stroads almost always have cross-sections of four or more lanes. Speed limits are usually 35-50, but 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 create "gridlock." There are increasing numbers of 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 high volumes, it seems there is no choice but the Stroad: 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. Taking Stroads is like trying to catch a greased and squealing pig. If livability-focused planners and engineers manage to catch the pig and calm it long enough to apply lipstick, it's still just "lipstick on a pig." If your hope was to attract walkable 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! Learn more at InnovativeIntersections.org
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... 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.
All my money, goes to gas now
But the potholes keep getting bigger
I feel bad for, all those walkin’ by
It’s really scary, seems like they might die.
I hear the noise. In off-peak hours it haunts me
Radio reminds me that we’ve seen better days
Driving down the Stroad I get a feeling that I
Should have been born yesterday, yesterday.
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
All my memories gathered 'round her
Miner's lady stranger to blue water
Dark and dusty, painted on the sky
Misty taste of moonshine, teardrops in my eye.
I hear her voice in the morning hour she calls me
Radio reminds me of my home far away
Driving down the road I get a feeling that I
Should have been home yesterday, yesterday.