Saving Copeland Drive #1

It is the position of the author that Copeland Drive is an example of an important right of way here in Mansfield. Said author further believes that we as a town are missing out on an important opportunity by retaining our perceptions of this right of way. In full disclosure the author is a resident of Copeland Drive.

Niceties out-of-the-way let’s begin this series by making something very clear. Mansfield United stands by the assertion that no matter the suffix you place on the name of a right of way (Ave, St, Blvd, Rd,Dr etc) there are only THREE types of right of ways.

Streets: The function of a street is to serve as a platform for building wealth. On a street, we’re attempting to grow the complex ecosystem that produces community wealth. In these environments, people (outside of their automobiles) are the indicator species of success. Successful streets are environments where humans, and human interaction, flourish.

Roads: In contrast, the function of a road is to connect productive places. You can think of a road as a refinement of the railroad — a road on rails — where people board in one place, depart in another and there is a high-speed connection between the two.

Stroads: Stroads are a mash-up of these two types of paths. We like to call them “the futon of transportation” because, just as a futon is neither a particularly good bed nor a particularly good couch, a stroad is neither a particularly good road or a particularly good street.

Definitions courtesy of Strong Towns.

Copeland Drive has the potential to be a great street and our neglect of it is doing absolutely nobody any favors. In this series it will be shown that the construction,speeds and assorted other components that make up Copeland Drive is in a state of confusion which is keeping Copeland from its potential.

Let me tell you some of the reasons why I think Copeland Drive can be a great street.

Copeland is a “gateway”.

People access Mansfield via Copeland Drive. It is one of the locations around town that provides people their first visually charged perceptions of Mansfield. Sadly I don’t think it is giving off the best look presently.

Copeland is a “bridge” that defines our core and connects neighborhoods.

Mansfield is so hyped about North Main St it has lost sight that what made Mansfield special wasn’t a single street but it’s organically developed core. That core still exists today and is literally begging for our attention. Copeland Dr marks a borderline of our core. Copeland also acts as a bridge between neighborhoods. Remember when you stand on a line there is more than one direction to step off that line.

Copeland can promote humanity.

Copeland Drive can easily be deemed a stroad. As such it is susceptible to going down a path that will harm us collectively as a town and on an individual human being level. It will also irreparably leave Copeland Drives best potential in the dust bin. It is time to decide Copeland Drives fate. We either try to make it a street or we forsake it and relegate Mansfield to taking the historically proven path where stroads take you.