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Should We Retrofit Our Country Roads for Slow Touring?

America has thousands of miles of single-lane country roads that have fallen into desuetude. Many of them are part of the old numbered highway...


America has thousands of miles of single-lane country roads that have fallen into desuetude. Many of them are part of the old numbered highway system and were rendered more or less obsolete when we started building the high-volume, high-speed interstate system in the 1950s.Now, with more people moving into the cities, these old "heritage roads" are even less relevant. So what should we do with them in the 21st century? Kim Gallagher, a project manager for the Southwest Michigan Planning Commission, suggests we turn them into scenic routes for low-speed touring with bikes or electric vehicles. Time has the story:[Gallagher] thinks green corridors could resuscitate Main Streets in Michigan and across the country. "This could be a small boon to local merchants, healthy-café owners, bed-and-breakfasts," she says. "We just want everyone to slow down and enjoy the view; the road is like a destination itself."...The idea is to retrofit roadways with charging stations and tailor routes to low-speed, limited-distance electric and muscle-powered vehicles, including EVs, hybrids, bicycles, scooters, horses and Segways. The basic law: stay under 35 m.p.h., unless your vehicle is crash-tested and certified for higher speeds. Of course, good old gas guzzlers are welcome too, as long as they go slow. "Everyone that's in this movement has a yearning for a slower pace," says Dean Curtis, who operates the website Green Interstate. "The great thing about the green highways is that they already exist. People just have to be reacquainted with them." Getting various local towns to buy in and build the charging stations might be a challenge, but the idea of reviving and updating the leisurely auto-touring of yesteryear for the 21st century is pretty fun.
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