Grim Arterial Street or a Multi-way Boulevard ?

The Grim Arterial Street 150' ROW.
The Grim Arterial Street 150′ ROW.

The most challenging piece of the Amador Proximo charrette with Placemakers was figuring out how to deal with an unfortunate arterial street bordering the 60+ acre infill site on the West. This street could be anywhere in the US.  Chuck Marohn calls these unlovable high speed thoroughfares “Stroads”.  Neither a road between towns or a street in town.

Link to “Stroads” at StrongTowns.org

Our proposed solution was two  11′ through lanes in each direction with a center median with turn pockets and two low speed side drives providing access to the parcels along the boulevard with a median separating the through lanes from the side drives.  The side drives would allow businesses along the boulevard to stay in operation while the center lanes and medians were being constructed.

Illustration by Andrew von Maur.  Walking down the side drive of the proposed Multi-way Boulevard.
Illustration by Andrew von Maur. Walking down the side drive of the proposed Multi-way Boulevard.

We heard from serious local cyclists that a dedicated cycle track in the side drive median would be preferred over cyclists sharing the slower speed side drive, so we modified the section.

Proposed section redlined after meeting with local cyclists.
Proposed section redlined after meeting with local cyclists.

This approach has a shot at getting built, as the state DOT is in the process of negotiating an agreement with the city of Las Cruces to turn this section of the State Highway over to the city and the DOT has allocated funds to do some improvements to the current “stroad before turning it over.    A good deal for everyone.  The Boulevard will produce much higher economic value for the adjoining properties and the traffic capacity and safety of the arterial street will be significantly improved.

Plan view of the proposed Boulevard section, Existing Buildings in Black.
Plan view of the proposed Boulevard section, Existing Buildings in Black.

If you are interested in this approach to taming unfortunate streets, I recommend The Boulevard Book by Allen Jacobs and Elizabeth McDonald.

Link to the Boulevard Book on Amazon

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