How Do You Actually Fix a Stroad?


Stroad to Road: Reduce the number of accesses; prioritize through movement of traffic; do not develop the corridor or mine that mobility investment for short-term gain; simplify.

Stroad to Street: Slow traffic; prioritize human movement over auto mobility; build a lot of stuff; embrace complexity and ongoing, incremental growth.

More importantly, we also talk a lot about where you should start, and we always insist on working incrementally with what you have to make the changes that you can make right now. You’re misunderstanding something foundational about the Strong Towns approach if you are starting with that stroad—it’s not the next smallest step. You’re going to spend a ton of energy fighting with people and fail to achieve any real change or build any meaningful momentum.

Most American cities have a stroad like this one. Those strip malls aren’t designed to last more than a couple of decades. Same with the frontage roads and everything else. I think the most likely outcome for such places is that they rot away and nobody cares. If you want to fix this stroad, work on making your neighborhoods better places to live, naturally shifting people from auto trips to walking and biking, and then put the momentum and energy you create doing that into resisting calls to prop up the development along this corridor with tax subsidies and other public bailouts.

These are bad investments that never should have been made. The best thing that can happen is that they die a natural death and, in doing so, create a minimal amount of harm to the community. That’s ultimately how this is fixed.

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