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« Friday News Digest | Main | Kansas City, Take 2 »
Wednesday
Feb132013

STROADing

First there was planking. Then there was owling. Then we had Tebowing. Now we have the latest craze sweeping the internets: STROADing.

STROADing is simple. First one must identify a STROAD, either an over-engineered urban street or a road that is rendered useless for moving traffic due to all of the adjacent strip development. This first step should be simple as STROADS are the default approach for the modern transportation engineer or public works department.

Once the STROAD has been identified, wait until it has no traffic -- again, a common feature of many STROADS -- and then lay down in the middle for a photo.

Here is an image of STROADing legend Joe Minicozzi of Urban 3 out STROADing on a recent trip to Kansas City.

Joe Minicozzi of Urban 3 STROADing in downtown Kansas City. Photo by urban daredevil and STROAD spotter extraordinaire, Eliza Harris.

STROADing can be very dangerous. On the off chance that a car does appear, the STROAD environment ensures that it will be traveling at high speeds. And, of course, the driver will not be anticipating the presence of a pedestrian, something very rare on a STROAD.

If you wish to practice safe-STROADing, it is best to choose a city like Kansas City where there are few cars but an excessive number of STROADS.

And while any photo of a successful STROADing is worthy, style points go to photos that capture the vast emptiness of the STROAD itself. One way couplets with no parking (again, see Kansas City) form the quintessential STROAD environment and are standard for the genre.

As a final note, our lawyers have informed us that we should not be encouraging people to go STROADing and so I'll make the point here that STROADing should only be done by experienced professionals under controlled conditions. Don't try this at home, unless your home is downtown Kansas City, in which case it really doesn't matter.

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Reader Comments (9)

Kansas City must not want to identify with this problem. Leave it to Chuck to not only mention it, but accentuate it. Hope they're paying attention.

February 13, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterGabe

The mind reels with the possibilities....

February 13, 2013 | Unregistered Commentergml4

First of all, I don't think Kansas City can claim winner status of this as there are many other worthy (unworthy?) candidates. Lets have a national competition, the STROAD Superbowl, and see who is the best, or worst as the case may be. I'm pretty sure I have some worthy contenders within walking distance of my house, although I will probably have to drive to get there safely. We can can have commentary from traffic engineers on the technical aspects of design, real time color commentary from drivers on their cell phones immediately tweeting and facebooking, maybe a half-time show in an empty parking lot, and yes we will need commercials from all the car and beer producers.

February 13, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterCory Johnston

So, Chuck is saying that Kansas City is a very STROADY city?

February 13, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterSophia Katt

Why not Tebow in the stroads and pray for wisdom for the traffic engineers and land use planners?

February 13, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterPedestrian Error

Drivers don't seem to expect pedestrians even in crosswalks: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ACEmyS_EDPI

February 14, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterDerek

For sure, Kansas City has a lot of bad roads that need to be addressed - I won't argue with you there. It looks like the photo was taken near the Kansas City Star's facility just south of downtown, which is definitely an area that empties out at night (not that the daytime traffic justifies that road). But it also looks to me like part two of your lesson is any city welcoming people at a big convention of urbanists better get ready for ridicule. Did anyone like anything they saw in KC?

February 14, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterSara Copeland

That is an excellent point, Sara. I've never been to KC but I found this project pretty quickly. It looks pretty Strong Town:

http://makeitright.org/uncategorized/breaking-ground-on-bancroft/

February 14, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterSophia Katt

I've been doing a variation of stroading in Berkeley. When I walk home from the library at 1 or 2am in the morning I take advantage of the empty ( and sometimes one way) streets and just walk down the middle of them. I love that when walking down the middle of the street I get these fantastic views of the buildings that line the street. When on the sidewalk I can't get a good view of buildings on both sides of the street and my views are always limited. I really do appreciate the local architecture more when I'm seeing them from just the right distance, which apparently is down the middle of the street.

February 24, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterSeverin
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