I've been on the road again. The Beau and I went to Nag's Head, on the Outer Banks of North Carolina. If you've never been, it's a beautiful location. The islands run for miles and miles, nearly continuously, off the North Carolina coast. They are less than a mile wide in most places. The beach itself was delightful, although the surf was kind of rough and filled with small, harmless jellyfish. We stayed in a lovely beach house with the rest of The Beau's family.
One block away was the 'big road', a four-lane highway featuring fast traffic, sprawling commercial developments with acres of surface parking, and an abundance of turn lanes and driveway cuts. There were no bicycle facilities. As you might expect, the big road was cars, cars, cars, and an occasional pedestrian.
Since the islands are long and narrow, north-south traffic is heavy. And since zoning codes obviously have not been written to create a walkable beach community, destinations are far apart and reached through parking lots. Transportation planning has followed the same bigger-is-better mindset you find everywhere else. There are a couple of signed bicycle routes, but very little has been implemented on the ground. The result is sprawl, traffic, and the depressing scenery of endless pavement.