I'd been toying with going to a 44T sprocket to get the lower revs at highway speed and an accurate speedometer, but decided not to (so far) to keep the low speed advantage. In parking lots I still have to clutch quite a bit. I would actually prefer a lower 1st gear! I plan on doing some off road this summer. But I'd also like a higher 5th and 6th gear. A larger spread rather than the close spread is really what would improve the gearing.
Jeff, to answer your question, yes I think going to a smaller rear sprocket would accomplish what you're looking for. You would upshift at slightly higher speeds. You won't find yourself shifting from 1st to 2nd in the middle of an intersection. Just be aware you will lose a little bit of utility at really low speeds, requiring a little bit more clutching in situations such as slow maneuvering in parking lots.