Q #167: Have you heard of “stroads” & have you given much thought to ’em?

I think I’d heard this word once or twice in passing in discussions about crappy traffic patterns and urban planning, and then figured out that yeah, that was the context. But thanks to some awesome vids, I learned more about ’em, and what’s bugged me about urban planning down here in the Houston metro area (and many other places, actually).

In essence, according to the Strong Towns website, a “stroad” is a combo of a street and a road, and usually has the worst aspects of each. Roads are meant for faster traffic, streets are more welcoming and slow with shorter distances to go where you need. But here in the states? How many multi-lane city streets are there with so many entrances and exits to get to businesses? A true road shouldn’t be like that, and would be far less deadly than these stroads.

This vid explains a bunch and shows great examples:

(sigh) But I suppose this is what we get for living in a country obsessed with cars and car ownership. And it’s bugged me, and only made me more and more uncomfortable about driving. I admit, I dream about living somewhere that you don’t have to drive every freaking place to get things done.

I’d ride my bike more often and put dedicated panniers on the sides if I could… but I’m way out county, so it’s no wonder I’d be driving everywhere. I spent a summer riding my bike as far as I could about 10 years ago to save gas, but as hot as it’s been, a 17 mile roundtrip with no dependable shoulders and speed-demon drivers is just too scary for me right now.

Not Just Bikes also had a great video about Houston’s urban planning that caught my attention (and I think it’s freaking spot on… and makes me want to visit and hang out in Amsterdam, now that I think about it). I always felt there was something off, and when driving through the various layers of urban-sprawl… it’s not walking friendly and is damned inconsistent when it tries to be. I can only wonder how difficult it is for people who are too poor to own a car but must get to work or the hospital or grocery store, etc. Unless you’re in a really old neighborhood not loaded with cul-de-sacs, you’re gonna have a helluva trip.

I feel ya, man. This is a reason I hate the Houston area, too. You have to know where the little pockets are in town that seem walking and biking friendly, they’re hard to find on your own.

Thanks to these vids, I’m trying to curb the desire to go on Steam and buy and download “Cities: Skylines” and start playing with my ideal vision of a cityscape.

Anyway, have you thought much about stroads around where you live, or have you been in places where they’ve managed to get rid of them to create more human areas vs. car areas? Have you just never thought about ’em much before or love ’em (or hate ’em?) These vids made me think, because I grew up with all this stuff so it just never occurred to me.

Floor’s yours…

2 thoughts on “Q #167: Have you heard of “stroads” & have you given much thought to ’em?

  1. ali redford says:

    I was on our muni planning commission for almost 20 years, and yes, bike lanes/walking paths and green spaces were on my agenda. Planning commissions aren’t a big place to work hard on one’s agenda, but you can keep your eyes open when developments are happening and make strong recommendations. I didn’t get much done as to these things in many places, but the new developments did include green spaces, and considerations for the lanes. People don’t like to pay for much along those lines, though.
    Now I want that game, too … 😉

    Liked by 2 people

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