THE IMPORTANCE OF STREETS TO A COMMUNITY
The part that good streets play in maintaining property values and encouraging economic development in a community.
A little over one hundred years ago most streets were little more than dust bowls during dry weather and mud holes when it rained. While some large cities had a few brick pavements, and a few experimented with Portland Cement Concrete, most streets were little more than dirt tracks. Macadam roads (graded, compacted gravel) were considered a high-grade facility, and nine or ten feet street widths were the standard.
But beginning with bicyclists, and receiving a boost from rapidly growing numbers of automobile owners, a push was made for “good roads” across the United States in urban and rural areas. Over the past century, in response to the demand to take drivers “out of the mud”, communities across the United States have built streets and roads that handle hundreds of millions of car, truck, motorcycle and bicycle trips everyday.
Today, our streets, along with sewer, water, electrical and communications grids provide the infrastructure backbone that supports one of the highest standards of living in the world. Day-to-day activities, economic growth, the very welfare of our communities depend on good streets. While street and road building has been highlighted by construction of the massive, federally sponsored interstate system, every community has spent large amounts of effort and funding to build and maintain the local streets that service the homes and businesses of their citizens. Here in Grandview this has meant development of over 100 miles of paved streets.
Streets come in a wide variety of types and materials, but a common feature or requirement of each is the need to maintain and preserve them. Without constant attention street surfaces deteriorate quickly, and once deterioration has started, it gets increasingly expensive to restore the street surface to a good condition. Besides the cost of repairs, there is another serious consequence of poor street surfaces, and that is the impact that poor quality streets have on community values.
Studies have been unable to tie down the exact dollar impact that poor streets can have on a community, but we all know that poor streets make our homes and businesses look bad and that a well designed, high quality street can enhance a neighborhood and a community a great deal. For this reason, we must be diligent and not allow our streets to fall into disrepair, so that we do not detract from our investment in our homes and businesses because of poor street conditions. Pride in our community comes from having a variety of services and facilities, a diverse population, and good serviceable infrastructure, beginning with our streets.