You may be asking yourself, "what is a stroad?" A stroad my friend is a hybrid creation of a road and a street. A road is what has always been throughout history a path of travel for commodities and peoples. Take for instance the railroad it was and is a path for travel. Roads are made and designed to get people and things from point A to point B, safely and efficiently. Streets, on the other hand, are something totally different. Streets are and have always been platforms to create and capture wealth. Streets are the platform in which our societies have been building, creating, and capturing wealth since the beginning of time and not just fiducial wealth but community, business, and residential wealth; wealth in every area of life.
You see a street is different from a road and a road is different from a street. We in Georgia and here in Walton County have combine the two into one very dangerous creation and that is the "Stroad". The stroad tries to take the best of both worlds and put them together. The GADOT (Georgia Department of Transportation) builds a road in order to connect one place to the next. Their main objective is to get the automobile from point A to point B, Safely and cost effectively. This is great, our towns and cities are better connected now than ever in history. Way to Go!
The problem arises when raw land on the sides of roads and highways begin to be bought by land groups and rezoned to commercial and then placed on the market for the development of shopping malls and restaurants capturing and building wealth on the road. Remember the difference between a road and a street? A road is meant to get the automobile from point A to B quickly (minimal turning lanes, distractions, and hazards. A street is a platform to create wealth ( buildings, business, homes, community, and so on). The stroad is birthed when a road tries to become a street it also works visa versa when a street tries to become a road. Below is a picture of a street with on street parking.
Dense mixed use zoned development on well built streets within Walton county's towns will create long lasting wealth for generations to come . The new gas station, strip mall, or restaurant built on Walton counties roads may bring an initial spike in the property appraised tax value but doesn't hold its value as long as properly developed buildings on streets. Currently our Walton county land-use map shows the majority of raw land with road frontage on highway 78 and highway 11 as commercial property. This is not good for the road, land conservation, or for the long term interest of our communities. A prime example of a Stroad is in the picture below. A road trying to be a street. This is Spring street in Monroe, Ga and it is a stroad.
Good street design is a key element of smart development. Streets are considered to be the place where land use and transportation connect. in the past, the major concern of engineers who designed streets were speed and capaticy to move as many cars as fast as possible. Today, more consideration is given to other concerns such as the livability of neighborhoods in the areas that the streets pass through, and the importance of serving differant street users, including non moterized useres such as pedestrians, bicyclists, rollerbladers, and skateboarders . In his pioneering publicaton Livable Streets, Don Appleyard called streets the 'most important part of our urban environment." Appleyard goes on to say, "we should raise our sights for the moment. What could a residental street a street on which our childeren are brought up, adults live, and old people spend their last days- what could such a street be like?
Narrow streets make moterists drive slower and are thus safer for all street users. however, the typical street standards produced by federal and state governments require very wide streets for new subdivisions. Instead of following outdated federal and state standards, a town can require street widths that are consistent with the needs and desires of its residents. Rick Chellman, a New Hampshire traffic engineer argues that " some of the best loved streets and those with the highest values (both for economics and livability) are streets that do not conform to current subdivision criteria." An irregular cul-de-sac street pattern has very long blocks and lots of dead ends. This makes it difficult to get where you want to go, with so few route options, all of the traffic is forced onto a few arterial roads that can get really congested, having only a few arterial roads means they must be designed very wide and support heavy traffic. This makes them very unpleasant for pedestrians, bicyclists , and motorists alike. A pattern of streets with lots of connections and short blocks, makes it easier to move around - people have more than one way to reach a destination. Street design that considers this concept can help reduce traffic congestion, it can also make it possible for children to walk or bike to school. Connected street networks provide multiple ways for all vehicles to access homes,shops,and other destinations. In addition, a street system encourages slow, cautious driving.
Take a look at this video from strongtowns.org explaining the problems and solutions for "Stroads". Thanks for Reading and keep up the good work.