March 20, 2012

The incompleteness of the grid

In an earlier post about the Columbus grid system, I extolled the virtues of it all. A grid system is a basic design of streets in which most roads intersect each other at right angles. Sometimes the grid can be made incomplete by both natural and man-made boundaries such as rivers, mountains, train tracks, and highways.

Columbus has been around long enough (1812) to have grown significantly prior to the invention of cars. Thus in the downtown area, the city developed a pretty intensive grid network that had the Scioto and some train tracks which interrupted it. When the Columbus innerbelt was completed by 1971, much of the grid system was disrupted:

Lines indicating where the roads were displaced due to freeway construction
What's the point of this? Well, as the grid gets incomplete more bottlenecks are created which adds additional stress to the major arterials. For instance, on the eastern portion of I-70 outside the innerbelt, there were once at least 19 crossings. Now there are more or less 5 crossings if you pair sister one-way roads. This increases walking to get to your destination and forces bicyclists to get on busier roads.

So the next time you see a biker on a major road remember that it might be the only route they can take.

Cool Family-Guy-peanut-butter-jelly-time link of the day:

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