Originally Posted by gerv
.. but I'm pretty sure there are lots of these designs being built today with the intention of moving traffic relatively quickly.
There must be some reason why this happens.
STROADS!! I hate them!
Until I first read "The Geography of Nowhere" by Jim Kunstler, I was like Neo in the Matrix . . . I knew there was something
wrong with the world . . but I couldn't quite put my finger on what it was. When your surrounding reality is an ugly strip of burger joints, video stores and bigbox stores, it is difficult to imagine anything different. But we once had something different . . before society was reconfigured from serving humans to serving the automobile.
If you look at a classic main street - for example, downtown Steamboat Springs, CO, or downtown Red Lodge, MT, to name a couple I am familiar with - not only do we not build infrastructure like this anymore, it is ILLEGAL to build infrastructure like this. In large part due to parking requirements. Zoning requirements now generally specify how many parking spaces any new construction must provide. The classic mainstreet did not provide any, other than the few spots on the street directly in front of the business.
The classic Main Street USA is now illegal, because it does not sufficiently accommodate the automobile. No wonder then that our roads are designed to accommodate ONLY the automobile.
The term Stroad is is perfect - not sure if Marohn coined this. I've read some of his stuff on http://www.streets.mn/
The problem with stroads is not that they exist, it is that they have become the default design for all suburban development in the US for the last 30 years. This is one of those things that affects much of the US population on a daily basis, and yet it has NEVER been mentioned in a political campaign. These decisions are made at the bureaucratic level by city managers and planners. The infrastructure just "happens" and no one quite knows why it happens like it does.
The effect on bicyclists is to push us off the roads. To name one example in my memory. France avenue in Edina MN. Runs by Southdale shopping center in Edina, MN, the very first indoor shopping mall in the USA. Up until 1980, France Ave was a four lane suburban street. A busy street to be sure, but it had a shoulder, and I used to ride it regularly to Bush Lake park in Bloomington. It was reconfigured in about 1981, from a four lane street with shoulders to a six lane STROAD with no shoulders. I think I rode it once after the "upgrade" and it was clear at that point that I was risking my life.
The same story was repeated over and over in the first and second ring suburbs of Minneapolis. Two lane roads with shoulders were transformed into four lane roads with no shoulders. Reasonable 30-35 MPH speed limits were replaced by 45 MPH speedlimits. Which meant that the traffic was now actually moving at 50-55MPH. . . on a road with no shoulder.
This was all done to "move traffic more efficiently". The irony is, these roads are dangerous - for automobiles. I defy even the safest driver, to be able to scan the roadway of a 6 lane stroad(not counting turn lanes!) and make safe decisions. It is simply too much information, things are happening too fast.
I contrast this with the infrastructure I grew up with, in Minneapolis, on streets that were laid out before the rise of the automobile. There were residential streets on a grid, and there was a "busy" street every half mile or so. But the "busy" street was a two laner, with a speed limit of 30 MPH, and generally had stop signs ever quarter mile or so.
So, to summarize: I am not a fan of Stroads.