Wider roads are poorer areas

Walking around various places around the world, at the local level wider roads are strongly correlated with poorer areas. I've been wondering which way the causation goes, perhaps it is bidirectional. If it is true that wider streets cause, as lloyd put it, regional depression then making streets narrower would presumably restore it.

A partial way to restore the narrow feeling of a street is to replace some of the car lanes with bike roads (as is common in 'Amsterdamn). The street I live on has bike lanes painted on the sides, but to a car driver the road still feels wide, and as a result people tend to drive aggressively, making the road less friendly to walking and cycling. Perhaps all it requires is concrete bollards placed between the bike lane and the car lane.

Alternatively, and more expensively, the curb could be moved inwards and the bike lane either retained at the road level but separated, or even at pedestrian level.

Several towns in Germany have tried making the road more driver unfriendly to good effect. Reducing driver speed has the unintuitive effect of increasing throughput (because slower drivers have a lower reynolds number). Hans Monderman was a leader in this kind of thinking.

But to me, the nicest approach would be to actually encourage buildings to move together leaving perhaps only one car lane in each direction, a reasonable amount of pavement and a bike lane. Many of the roads around Campbell are effectively 4 lanes wide plus sidewalk - a lane is perhaps 3m so a total wide of 15m. In addition, occupants in such areas would immediately gain more land (more solar energy). Take out a lane and convert another to bike lanes and you gain 3m2/m or 50m2 per house block (perhaps a 10% increase in value).

Narrowing the street makes the other side feel closer, and with a somewhat non-linear pay off - doubling the width makes the road much less crossable than might be suggested by a factor of 2.

I wonder if anywhere has tried this.




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