I’m probably dwelling on this a little too much, but I’m blown away to find city streets with 55 or even 60 mph speed limits. How is that even possible? I haven’t been able to force myself to drive that fast yet. It still seems wrong.
After driving and looking and thinking the problem through, it’s beginning to make sense. This is part of the planning in a planned city you don’t think about.
Irvine has the advantage of coming into existence after the automobile. The car has always been king. Connecticut has lots of roads designed for wagons and livestock.
Here’s how they do it in Irvine.
The main arterial streets are limited access. It’s not quite as limited as an I-95, but it’s pretty restrictive. There is no parking. No homes face these streets. There is no driveway access.
Most of the streets within developments stay there. Only a few well placed secondary streets exit to the major arteries. If there’s no traffic light at the intersection, right turns only
The purpose of the major thoroughfares is to efficiently move people over moderate distances. They do.
Where two main roads intersect, each gets wider. We stopped for a light on Sand Canyon at Irvine Blvd. There were seven lanes. Not seven lanes curb-to-curb, but seven lanes in each roadway where it approached the intersection.
That’s three for through traffic and two each for left and right turns.
I don’t think there are any standalone stores in Irvine. These major streets are pretty sterile. Few distractions.
Everything is clustered in conveniently located shopping centers. None have entrances near the actual intersection.
Interestingly, the one road where this doesn’t work is I-5. It’s a very large Interstate with lots of traffic and slowdowns.
The center of West Hartford or heavy duty shopping like the Post Road or Berlin Turnpike could never exist in this city. The are lots of open air places to eat, but nothing like The Place in Guilford.
There is a tradeoff for everything.