Removing travel lanes on roads larger than three lanes is by far the most beneficial, cost-effective thing Boulder can do to improve quality of life, promote travel choices and affordability, retain a small town character, improve safety, promote small retail shops, reduce carbon emissions, improve finances, and reduce gasoline consumption.
Broadway, Canyon, Colorado, 30th, 28th, Pearl Parkway, and East Arapahoe share the design problem of their each being “stroads.” A stroad is an extremely dangerous mix of high speed highway geometric design with pedestrians, bicyclists and turning traffic. Stroads, as Charles Marohn points out, are enormously expensive to build and, ultimately, financially unproductive. Stroads are the futon of travel corridors. Where a futon is a piece of furniture that serves both as an uncomfortable couch and an uncomfortable bed, a stroad moves cars at speeds too slow for regional travel, but too fast to support productive private sector investment. The result is an expensive highway and a declining tax base. Stroads are not only dangerous, but also aesthetically unpleasant. They don’t provide the swift, efficient mobility that is the greatest economic benefit of a good road, and they simultaneously fail to deliver the enduring value of a good street — which fosters community, good architecture, and financial resilience at the lowest possible cost. Broadway, Canyon, 30th, Pearl Parkway, and East Arapahoe need to be redesigned from stroads to streets in those locations that are intended to be conducive to walkable retail and urban residential.