Wendell Cox has a nice short piece on newgeography.com on the importance of a well functioning arterial network to keep traffic moving efficiently in cities. The specific focus of the article is Atlanta, but the principle is generally true. Notes Cox:
"In metropolitan areas with effective arterial street systems (such as Los Angeles), there is usually a surface alternative to a grid-locked freeway. A skilled driver can use these alternate routes and avoid much of the frustration of congestion. This may or may not improve travel times, but it is certainly better for the psyche. In Atlanta, there are few alternatives to the freeways and even the freeway system itself is very sparse."
Adrian and I discuss the importance of arterials in our book Mobility First, including a full chapter on what we call the "missing link" of high-capacity boulevards, queue jumpers, and other arterials.
Arterials have become an increasingly important component of Reason Foundation's Galvin Project to End Congestin as well. Las year, for example, we published a pathbreaking study on this was Reason Foundation's congestion case study of Lee County, Florida where Bob Poole and Chris Swenson develop a long-range plan for reducing congestion through arterials and the creative application of queue jumpers (another solution featured in Mobility First).