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Thread: Current thinking on cul-de-sacs

  1. #1
    Cyburbian JNL's avatar
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    Current thinking on cul-de-sacs

    (or 'culs-de-sac' if you prefer!)

    I know we have discussed cul-de-sacs before, but I was wondering if anyone has any references to recent information/thinking/research on the issue? Particularly with reference to crime reduction?

  2. #2
    Cyburbian Rumpy Tunanator's avatar
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    Here's something that was on Planetizen a few weeks ago http://www.reason.com/0502/fe.st.crime.shtml
    A guy once told me, "Do not have any attachments, do not have anything in your life you are not willing to walk out on in 30 seconds flat if you spot the heat around the corner."


    Neil McCauley (Robert DeNiro): Heat 1995

  3. #3
    Cyburbian Man With a Plan's avatar
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    Here's an article from the EPA that discusses the City of Charlotte's decision to ban cul-de-sacs:

    www.epa.gov/ecocommunity/news/cno7-5f.htm

    Quote Originally posted by Man With a Plan
    Here's an article from the EPA that discusses the City of Charlotte's decision to ban cul-de-sacs:

    www.epa.gov/ecocommunity/news/cno7-5f.htm
    Actually here it is:

    With a unanimous vote, the Charlotte City Council changed its subdivision ordinance to eliminate cul-de-sacs. Charlotte went cul-de-sac happy in the 1970s and 1980s, said Mayor Pat McCrory. "We failed to develop a grid system of roads and now we have gridlock." The case against cul-de-sacs is the way they limit access to and from neighborhoods. Frequently, subdivisions of cul-de-sacs have only one or two connections to an adjacent road. When cul-de-sac communities are lined up along that road, it clogs with drivers who have no alternative routes. Cul-de-sacs have been popular with homeowners and with developers because they are cheaper to build. "The majority of buyers prefer cul-de-sacs," said Charlotte Home Builders Association President Tom Waters, yet he was one of seven industry members who helped planning staff draft the change in the cul-de-sac rules. Some Charlotte City Council members said they were surprised developers hadn't fought the new restrictions (Charlotte Observer, 10/18).
    Last edited by Tranplanner; 23 Feb 2005 at 11:46 AM.

  4. #4
    Cyburbian AubieTurtle's avatar
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    Someone had to make the obligatory observation that cul-de-sac translates into English as "Bottom of the bag".
    As democracy is perfected, the office of president represents, more and more closely, the inner soul of the people. On some great and glorious day the plain folks of the land will reach their heart's desire at last and the White House will be adorned by a downright moron. - H.L. Mencken

  5. #5
    maudit anglais
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    Quote Originally posted by AubieTurtle
    Someone had to make the obligatory observation that cul-de-sac translates into English as "Bottom of the bag".
    Actually, in colloquial French it means "ass of a bag" (bag meaning ugly woman).

  6. #6

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    Quote Originally posted by Rumpy Tunanator
    Here's something that was on Planetizen a few weeks ago http://www.reason.com/0502/fe.st.crime.shtml
    By the way, this was an absolutely horrendous article (IMHO) and proved nothing (I say this despite technically being a resident of a cul de sac myself)....However, it does indirectly raise the issue as to whether the generally decreasing crime numbers that the country has experienced over the last 25-30 years may in part be due to low density, suburban style (yes, sprawl) growth, with the accompanying cul de sac...In other words, more cul de sacs today than in the 70s and lower crime numbers today than in the 70s (unless you wish to contest this assertion) are somehow related... I think that the story is much more complex than this.

  7. #7
    Cyburbian JNL's avatar
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    Oh wow, this question of mine has suddenly become more pertinent for me, as I've been asked to talk about good and bad design for pedestrian and cycle connections off cul-de-sacs, at a national meeting next week!

    I know that short and straight cul-de-sacs are best for minimising burglary risk, and the same goes for ped/cycle connections.

    I'm thinking the criteria through... here's a draft list, please feel free to comment, and if you have any photos to illustrate I will LOVE YOU FOREVER!!!

    Good ped/cycle connexns off cul-de-sacs are..
    short
    straight (to give sightlines right through)
    low fences and overlooked by neighbouring properties
    well lit
    wide, but prevent any through-traffic from motor vehicles
    have a general feeling of being clean, light and open
    are well sign-posted
    have appropriate paving

    Bad ones are...
    long
    winding or curved
    high fences
    not overlooked by anything (a person moving through can be hidden from sight)
    poorly lit or not lit


    EDIT: I'm splitting this post about design of connections off cul-de-sacs to another thread.
    Last edited by JNL; 24 Feb 2005 at 8:53 PM.

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