A BO0K REVIEW
by Rod Kazenske
WHAT'S A STROAD?
Confessions of a Recovering Engineer – Transportation for a Strong Town by Charles L. Marohn, Jr.
As a residential architect, I have become obsessed with studying and learning about how we build places for people. Not just the elements that I design most, the homes, but the places where our homes are located - our neighborhoods and our communities. What are the features and characteristics that make up great neighborhoods? Why don't we seem to be creating walkable and vibrant communities any more? And how and why did we forget how to design and build great places that were meant for people?
While there are many components that must be present and incorporated to make great places, there are a couple of basic elements that are critical as to how a community functions and is organized - the roads and streets. And once you understand the differences between the two, what each of them should be doing, and what we're currently doing wrong in their design - the solutions seem so much clearer.
In his new book, Confessions of a Recovering Engineer, Strong Towns founder Charles Marohn does exactly that. He explains what roads and streets are supposed to be, how they should be designed to help create safe and organized neighborhoods and communities, and the steps we need to take right now to begin making those changes.
Charles says he's a "recovering" engineer. But you don't need to be an engineer to begin to understand how we can begin creating safer neighborhoods. You don't need to be a city planner or councilperson to begin making meaningful and sustainable change in your community. If you simply want to make your neighborhood a better place to live, this book is a great place to start.
Oh, and what's a "stroad"? Here's an excerpt from his book: "A stroad is an street/road hybrid. It is the futon of the transportation system. A futon is an uncomfortable couch that converts into an uncomfortable bed, something that performs two functions but does neither well. A stroad tries to be both a street and a road, providing both mobility and access, yet fails miserably at both."
Once you know what a stroad is, you won't be able to stop pointing them out, or stop seeing why they are so dangerous, and why they are destroying our neighborhoods and communities. And then, you will also begin to understand what we needs to be done to fix them and what we need to do the begin making Strong Towns again.