Skip to Content
Streetsblog USA home
Streetsblog USA home
Log In
Streetsblog.net

How to Ruin Your Street Grid With Highways, Parking, and Superblocks

Atlanta's street grid, circa 1911. Image: ##http://atlurbanist.tumblr.com/post/70217724429/how-to-screw-up-a-street-grid-atl-style## ATL Urbanist##
Atlanta's street grid, circa 1911. Image: ##http://atlurbanist.tumblr.com/post/70217724429/how-to-screw-up-a-street-grid-atl-style##ATL Urbanist##
false

Street grids are a key ingredient in a walkable city. Fortunately, many American cities -- especially the older ones -- were endowed with tightly knit grids, dispersing traffic of all types and creating good connections for people on foot.

The bad news, of course, is that the usefulness of many street grids was severely curtailed by interstate highways and other 20th Century interventions. Darin at Network blog ATL Urbanist explains how Atlanta degraded its street grid, comparing the above map with the one below.

Atlanta's street grid present day. Image: ##http://atlurbanist.tumblr.com/post/70217724429/how-to-screw-up-a-street-grid-atl-style## ATL Urbanist##
Atlanta's street grid present day. Image: ##http://atlurbanist.tumblr.com/post/70217724429/how-to-screw-up-a-street-grid-atl-style##ATL Urbanist##
false

Darin says:

How can you completely screw up a lovely grid and ruin the connectivity between neighborhoods, rendering a city less walkable and more car-oriented?

Enlarge this satellite map of the current Atlanta and notice the way interstates 75 and 85 slice through the streets of Midtown and Downtown, and most significantly how their interchange with east/west I-20 forms a weave of asphalt that might as well be a crater.

Then notice the enormous walls created by Turner Field’s parking lots at the lower right and the World Congress Center in the middle, above the Dome.

Reconnecting these segments of the city divided by highway infrastructure and more is key to a more walkable future, and street-level projects like the Atlanta Beltline and the upcoming streetcar will hopefully help a great deal.

Elsewhere on the Network today: Urban Cincy says it's important to understand that streetcar opponents in the Cincinnati region oppose all types of transit investments, not just this specific project. Better Institutions writes that the way rich people actually inflate rents in cities is misunderstood -- the real problem is affluent opponents of dense development. And the State Smart Transportation Initiative reports that the state of Washington will stop focusing on congestion as a measure of the performance of its transportation system.

Stay in touch

Sign up for our free newsletter

More from Streetsblog USA

Tuesday’s Headlines Are Running Hard

More political news: Today's top stories delve into Kamala Harris' record on climate change and Republicans' plans for the Trump administration if he returns to power.

July 23, 2024

State DOTs Could Fuel a Resurgence in Intercity Bus Travel

Private equity firms are killing off intercity bus companies. Will public agencies fill in the gaps?

July 23, 2024

GOP’s ‘Project 2025’ is ‘Based on a Lot of ignorance’

What does Transportation for America's Beth Osborne think of the transportation portion of the Heritage Foundation's playbook for a Trump presidency?

July 23, 2024

What a Surprise! Hochul’s Congestion Pricing Pause Helps Rich Suburban Drivers

Gov. Hochul's "little guys" certainly have big wallets. Meanwhile, the rest of us suffer with declining subway service and buses that are slower than walking. Thanks, Kathy.

July 22, 2024

Philadelphia Demands More Than ‘Flex-Post’ Protected Bike Lanes After Motorist Kills Cyclist

Pediatric oncologist Barbara Friedes was struck while biking on a "protected" path. Now, advocates are arguing that flex posts should be replaced with something far better.

July 22, 2024
See all posts