Strong Towns Concepts Used to Shine a Light on Dangerous Streets


A prescription for tragedy. That's what St. Louis news station KSDK is saying about stroads, a term Strong Towns coined several years ago to explain the deadly combination of a street — where people walk, shop and work — and a road — where cars travel quickly to their destination.

In an in-depth report, the KSDK team shared the heartbreaking story of a woman who was killed on one of the city's many stroads:

55-year-old Doletha Hudson was crossing Natural Bridge Avenue to get to a bus stop when a driver struck and killed the grandmother on impact. "I just started hollering and asking the Lord, 'I want to be with my sister. I've got to see my sister,'" Dorene Brown [Doletha's sister] said.

The report goes on to discuss how dangerous stroads have resulted in dozens of tragic pedestrian deaths like this one, including several on this very avenue:

A street is usually residential and narrow with a lower speed limit. The priority here is pedestrian, young and old. But a road or highway is all about cars getting someplace so the speed limits are higher and the lanes are wider. Now combine them and you have the safety problem called a stroad where there's plenty of pedestrians trying to cross wide roads and cars are moving fast.

At Strong Towns, we don't think you need a graduate degree or an elected position to make your city better. We're committed to helping regular people name and solve the problems in their communities. By providing the language to explain why these fast-moving city stroads are so treacherous, we hope to empower communities to make them safer. (Learn how to turn a dangerous stroad into a safe, productive street here.)

We're thankful that our language and explanation of what makes streets so dangerous can provide clarity to the people of St. Louis and we hope that local leaders and engineers are paying attention. It's time to redesign our cities so that horrific tragedies like these don't happen again.

(Top image source: KSDK)