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Thread: Best cul-de-sac design

  1. #26
    Cyburbian
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    Both of them are bad (I can't even see a cul-de-sac in the second one, which looks like a storage yard in an industrial district).

    Heartland, how do you promote a walkable community in a rural area (are you talking about the village itself or outside of the rural areas which are not accessible on foot?).

  2. #27
    Cyburbian Streck's avatar
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    HCB: thanks for the link to Overland Park SW of Kansas City. It shows an innovation of providing sidewalks on just one side of the cul-de-sac lane. But I notice that all streets in the area have sidewalks on only one side.

    I seems to be a good example as to how cul-de-sacs can work. There are many pathways to parks, schools, playgrounds and the creek without having to cross streets (although not all homes have that benefit). But there did not appear to be an extension of the walking/bikeways from the sidewalks in front of the houses that extend between the houses at the end of the cul-de-sacs to the green spaces.

    The maximum number of houses I saw on a cul-de-sac were about 10 on a side. Since all the houses had driveways that went to the front of the house (bad - no side entry driveways - garages all face the street), the lots were probably under 100 feet in width, say 80 feet. Ten 80 foot lots would give about 800 feet to the longest cul-de-sac I saw. This is approaching three football fields in length, which may be a little too long.

    I have not yet seen the second reference you made.

  3. #28
    I was meaning for the Overland Park example to be an example of how to not use cul-de-sacs.

    And the industrial area picture is an example of where cul-de-sacs could be implemented. As the railroad is in a canyon, and the two roads (which were once connected by a bridge) could have cul-de-sacs so it'd be easier to turn around if a bridge couldn't be built.

    Rural areas can't really be walkable (except the villages) however cul-de-sacs (dirt/rock versions) could be placed on the dead-end roads to allow people to turn around.

    Overland Park is an example of how suburbs should never develop.

  4. #29
    Cyburbian
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    Heartland, can you pick any examples of cul-de-sacs in a more pedestrian friendly area than an industrial park? If you place a cul-de sac in that example it is going to be HUGE to have to allow a turn arround for trucks. IMO, your argument against residential cul-de-sacs and how they have damaged neighborhoods doesn't really equate to the indsutrial park example.

    As for the rural example, there are plenty of turn-arounds for farm-equipment (although I don't really call them cul-de-sacs). These might be on public or private roads. As for other 'local streets' I think it would be just be cheaper to slap up a no outlet sign at the nearest intersection than design a cul-de-sac.

  5. #30
    Cyburbian Streck's avatar
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    Cul-de-sac signage

    I would like to add an aspect for good cul-de-sac design - the entrance sign.

    It seems like most such signs are negative, like DEAD END, or NO OUTLET, or NOT A THROUGH STREET, or what not.

    Has anyone seen a positive language sign that lets people know that this is the only way in or out?

    Is there an international symbol sign that does this like the diamond Right-of-Way sign? Or would "Cul-de-sac" do it.

    Still looking for examples of good cul-de-sac design, including signage.

    PS The Overland Park area showed good connectivity while having appealing family liveability aspects of residential cul-de-sacs.

  6. #31
    Streck, the OP example is a HORRIBLE example of how to build ANYTHING. Overland Park will hopefully die out in the coming decades, unless it returns to it's Downtown and reject it's sprawl mentality.

    The Overland Park example does not have good connectivity, and only promotes isolationism, excess, automobile orientation etc...

    Horrible example of planning as well as use of Cul-De-Sacs:
    http://maps.live.com/default.aspx?v=...1000&encType=1

    Great example of single-family neighborhood planning:
    http://maps.live.com/default.aspx?v=...1000&encType=1

    Show me an example of cul-de-sacs being used in walkable, urban neighborhoods. I'm not aware of any at the moment. (and no, sprawl is NOT urban)

  7. #32
    Moderator note:
    More and more of the replies to the OP are sliding off-topic and condemning the cul-de-sac. There are plenty of places for those of you that insist on this line of thinking and you are free to post there. This thread, however, is about being constructive and it will return to that topic. Capice?

    Carry on.
    ~Gedunker

  8. #33
    I'm not condemning the Cul-De-Sac, I'm condemning sprawl and the Cul-De-Sac's use in sprawl... Cul-De-Sacs can definitely be good.

    Like I said, the best design and use of the Cul-De-Sac doesn't include any use in sprawl.

  9. #34
    Cyburbian Streck's avatar
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    I have been asked by private message to provide a link in this thread that shows the specifics in how cul-de-sacs are more economical than grid systems and reduce crime. Tide provided the link, and the info starts on page three. I could not copy and paste the specific sentences in the link, but here is the link again for the record:

    http://www.uctc.net/access/24/Access...Cul-de-sac.pdf

    The article was printed in 2004 and the authors are Michael Southworth and Eran Ben-Joseph.

    For some reason I was able to copy and paste the following info about the authors from the article:

    M i c h a e l S o u t h w o r t h i s p r o f e s s o r o f c i t y a n d r e g i o n a l p l a n n i n g a n d l a n d s c a p e a r c h i t e c t u r e a n d e n v i r o n m e n t a l p l a n n i n g a t t h e U n i v e r s i t y o f
    C a l i f o r n i a , B e r k e l e y, a n d e d i t o r f o r t h e J o u r n a l o f U r b a n D e s i g n ( m s o u t h w @ b e r k e l e y. e d u ) . E r a n B e n - J o s e p h i s a s s o c i a t e p r o f e s s o r o f
    l a n d s c a p e a r c h i t e c t u r e a n d p l a n n i n g a t M a s s a c h u s e t t s I n s t i t u t e o f Te c h n o l o g y ( e b j @ m i t . e d u ) .

  10. #35
    Cyburbian JNL's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by Dan View post
    Do you have a cite? I'd love to reference it in my future plans, even if it's from a study in New Zealand.
    Even if it's from a little island in the Pacific that some people have never heard of?

    Wasn't able to find the direct reference but did find this link which includes several references and the following:
    Burglaries and street crime result from a nexus of factors, including demographics, individual psychology, and environment. Design plays a role as well. The conventional assumption is that greater isolation protects against crime, but researchers are finding that long, isolated cul de sacs with homes that are not visible from the street have higher crime rates. Crime researchers recommend breaks in the street network only under certain limited conditions. http://pedshed.net/?p=72
    The research I was thinking of was by Bill Hillier et al at Space Syntax. They do some interesting stuff.

    Quote Originally posted by mendelman View post
    Loop roads are also a good solution.
    There were several in the town I grew up in and they were quite pleasant. One in particular I used to walk along en route to get the bus to high school - Rewarewa Crescent I think? It had a walkway coming off the top of the loop, which connected through to another street. "Loop roads" are usually named as crescents in New Zealand.
    Last edited by JNL; 08 Aug 2007 at 6:46 PM.

  11. #36
    Cyburbian Streck's avatar
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    Tide

    From the link provided by Tide:

    "SOME ADVANTAGES
    The cul-de-sac model has several advantages that are worth
    considering. From the perspective of residents, the pattern
    usually offers quiet, safe streets where children can play with
    little fear of fast-moving traffic. A discontinuous short-street
    system, unlike the grid, may promote familiarity and neighboring.
    The cul-de-sac street pattern is also supported by the
    market: home buyers often pay premium prices for the most
    isolated cul-de-sac lots. The pattern is popular with developers
    not only because it sells well, but also because the infrastructure
    costs are significantly lower than for the traditional interconnected
    grid pattern, which can require up to fifty percent more
    road construction. Cul-de-sacs, being disconnected, adapt better
    to topography. Since they carry no through traffic, they often
    have reduced standards for street widths, sidewalks and curbs.
    In Radburn, for example, the introduction of cul-de-sacs reduced
    street area and the length of utilities, such as water and sewer
    lines, by 25 percent as compared to a typical gridiron street plan.
    According to Stein, the cost savings on roads and utilities paid for
    the construction of open spaces and parks."

  12. #37

    sequential replies

    You're still preferring Cul-De-Sacs in Sprawl... I want to know how Cul-De-Sacs can be used in urban areas... Sprawl is going to stop in the coming decades, and hopefully Americans will wise up and stop buying crap in sprawl...

    Again I ask you, how can Cul-De-Sacs be used in urban areas? (NOT IN SPRAWL)

    The best Cul-De-Sac designs do not promote sprawl or any development under about 8 units/acre.

    Here is a good urban single-family use of the Cul-De-Sac to fill in a city block that I drew up in Google Sketchup 6:
    http://img505.imageshack.us/img505/8...uldesacvb4.png

    Some other good urban uses of the Cul-De-Sac all were drawn by me in Google Sketchup
    http://img160.imageshack.us/img160/8...ldesac1wn6.png
    http://img512.imageshack.us/img512/2...ldesac2jl8.png
    http://img527.imageshack.us/img527/3...ldesac3vd2.png
    Last edited by Gedunker; 09 Aug 2007 at 9:13 AM.

  13. #38
    Cyburbian Streck's avatar
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    Statistics from "Reconsidering the Cul de Sac" link from Tide

    "Analysis of automobile accident data supports the notion that cul-de-sac and loop patterns are safer than other kinds
    of streets. Furthermore, hierarchical, discontinuous street systems have lower burglary rates than easily traveled street
    layouts; criminals will avoid street patterns where they might get trapped.

    "For example, the troubled Five Oaks district of Dayton, Ohio, was restructured to create several small neighborhoods by converting many local streets to cul-de-sacs by means of barriers. Within a short time traffic declined 67 percent and traffic accidents fell 40 percent. Overall crime decreased 26 percent, and violent crime fell by half. At the same time, home sales and values increased. A comparative study of street patterns indicates significant homebuyer preference for the cul-de-sac and loop patterns.

    "We examined nine California neighborhoods in terms of safety performance and residents’ perception of their street’s livability. The neighborhoods were matched demographically but represented three different street layouts—grid, loop, and cul-de-sac. The findings suggest that cul-de-sac streets, and especially the lots at the end, perform better than grid or loop patterns in terms of traffic safety, privacy, and safety for play.

    "Residents also preferred the cul-de-sac as a place to live, even if they actually lived on a through or loop street. People said they felt cul-de-sac streets were safer and quieter because there was no through traffic and what traffic there was moved slowly. They also felt they were more likely to know their neighbors."

    end of quote

    The statistics are from Five Oaks. There is a book written on Five Oaks by Oscar Newman entitled "Defensible Space."

    http://www.defensiblespace.com/start.htm

    The residents elected to do away with their grid system of streets in favor of blocking off streets to create cul de sacs. He reports how crime was reduced in the inner city.

    Along with blocking off certain existing grid streets, they constructed pylons at the entry streets identifying the new cul de sac neighborhoods.

    It appears that pylons would be a design enhancement to cul de sacs that has not been mentioned yet, and they would provide a place for a discrete indicator to note that this is not a through street.

  14. #39
    Zoning Lord Richmond Jake's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by HeartlandCityBoy View post
    [cynic]Those designs offer very attractive outdoor private/living spaces[/cynic]

    Good? Not a living type choice for me. When I get home from work, I don't want to view the activities of my neighbors. I enjoy my privacy and I want to respect their privacy.

    You can keep it.

  15. #40
    So do you prefer sprawl over urban environments? Hmm... You're choice of living and way of life is only a few decades old, and will only last a few more decades, as urban areas are the future, and sprawl is going to be short lived.

    If your house is about 7-8 units/acre or over, you're living in a more urban area. If your house is less than 1 unit/acre, you're in a rural area. Anything in between 1 unit/acre and about 7 units/acre is not fine or ok.

  16. #41
    Zoning Lord Richmond Jake's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by HeartlandCityBoy View post
    So do you prefer sprawl over urban environments? Hmm... You're choice of living and way of life is only a few decades old, and will only last a few more decades, as urban areas are the future, and sprawl is going to be short lived.

    If your house is about 7-8 units/acre or over, you're living in a more urban area. If your house is less than 1 unit/acre, you're in a rural area. Anything in between 1 unit/acre and about 7 units/acre is not fine or ok.
    Off-topic:
    I don't prefer sprawl; I prefer the suburbs and I don't want to live in an urban environment. Our home is on about +1/3 acre, on a cul-de-sac, and I have a 7 mile drive to work. That's fine and ok with me. Thank you judge and jury.

  17. #42
    Cyburbian CJC's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by HeartlandCityBoy View post
    If your house is about 7-8 units/acre or over, you're living in a more urban area. If your house is less than 1 unit/acre, you're in a rural area. Anything in between 1 unit/acre and about 7 units/acre is not fine or ok.
    Off-topic:
    Incredibly simplistic. Here's a tip for you - In many parts of this country, land is cheap, gas is cheap, and many people would like a larger piece of land to call their own. I agree that it's not ideal, but making changes on a larger scale is the only way to fix things. Demonizing those who enjoy that lifestyle will get you nowhere. Now, if you want to see some truly negative sprawl, in every sense - visit Phoenix, Vegas, or California. Imagine cul-de-sacs everywhere and complete dependance on autos, only with densities of 12-15 per acre or more. All of the negatives of sprawl, with very few of the positives.

  18. #43
    People can get good chunks of land in rural areas, but having a house on land between about 1/7th of an acre and 1 acre is wrong in every sense. That is, unless you are surrounded by rural land.

    I could give you a lot of aerial photos of sprawl and good alternatives, but that isn't the subject of this thread.

  19. #44
    Quote Originally posted by Streck View post
    I would like to add an aspect for good cul-de-sac design - the entrance sign.
    For simplicity's sake, how about just one of those yellow diamonds, with perhaps a black "lollipop" symbol of sorts on it? (I'd draw one, but alas, I only have MS Paint on this computer - I'd be better served by an Etch-a-Sketch and a box of Crayolas ).

    Of course, that doesn't do anything about the unsightliness of a big yellow street sign. Perhaps standardizing the naming conventions would be good enough? Many (dare I say most) of the "courts" around here are cul-de-sacs. I'm sure there are exceptions both ways, with cul-de-sacs not being called courts, and courts not being cul-de-sacs, but it's still a pretty good indicator.

    To follow on with what btrage and others have said, I like that "eyebrow" design and generally I like the landscaping idea. It makes it more visually appealing, and I've seen instances where the landscaping/medians are of sufficient size to serve as public open spaces for block parties, etc. However, a drawback with extensive landscaping or medians, from the emergency services perspective (since it was brought up), is that it precludes mid-block turn-arounds and cut-overs. When you realize that the house where you need to be is on the other side of the street, you either stop and walk across the median (not practical, really), or zip down to the end of the street, turn around, and zip back up. I have personally seen situations like that where the landscaping goes some 500+ feet. So near, yet so far...

  20. #45
    Cyburbian JNL's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by Streck View post
    The residents elected to do away with their grid system of streets in favor of blocking off streets to create cul de sacs. He reports how crime was reduced in the inner city.

    Along with blocking off certain existing grid streets, they constructed pylons at the entry streets identifying the new cul de sac neighborhoods.
    It is dangerous to interpret Newman's work as proof that "blocked off streets" = reduced crime. Newman himself explained that there are certain pre-conditions required for the creation of "mini-neighbourhoods" to have an impact on crime (http://www.nhi.org/online/issues/93/defense.html). Also, if you want to read up on CPTED you will find that Newman's work, published in 1972, has been critiqued widely, e.g.:

    In communities such as Five Oaks in Dayton, Ohio, where Newman worked with city officials and residents to adapt his methods, street closures have been cited as successes. But some observers point to other factors in Bridgeport-such as federal, state, and local investigations eliminating two major gangs-that have contributed to a decrease in crime. http://www.nhi.org/online/issues/98/shorts.html#walls
    His theories of defensible space remain a useful contribution to the field, but it's worth reading his work in detail and comparing it with others' such as Jane Jacobs' concept of "eyes on the street".

    Besides, street closures are not the same as planned cul-de-sacs....

  21. #46
    Cyburbian Streck's avatar
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    Invitation to HCB

    The original thread request was to show us what you think was the best cul de sac design that you have come across. HCB made several off topic statements arguing against "sprawl," but thinks cul de sacs could be good otherwise. The original request for good cul de sac design was not limited as to location.

    My invitation to HCB would be: show us the best urban area cul de sac design you have encountered, or propose.

  22. #47
    Cyburbian Plus PlannerGirl's avatar
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    Warning

    Moderator note:


    HeartlandCityBoy the community that is Cyburbia has been telling you in increasingly less subtle ways that you are being seen as a one trick pony and thus marginalized along with any ideas you may have good or bad. You are not helping your case with your hyper focused passionate hate for suburbs.

    A few clues that will serve you well if you have any hope of a meaningful career in land use planning
    - Not everyone will agree with you, get over it or you will be a miserable person and out of a job
    - Not everyone wants the same living environment you want, this is America and people do have choices
    - Some college professors will tolerate your single minded hate for suburbs but employers and government bodies will not
    - Learn to compromise, stand in other folks shoes and temper your message
    - If it is your goal to persuade others to your way of thinking, give some serious thought as to HOW you might present arguments in a manner most likely convince others. This is an important skill any planner would do well to cultivate.

    Cyburbia is a great place to learn and grow but if you continue to refuse to do that you will be shown the door.

    Last edited by PlannerGirl; 09 Aug 2007 at 10:57 AM.
    "They who can give up essential liberty to obtain a little temporary safety, deserve neither liberty nor safety." Ben Franklin

    Remember this motto to live by: "Life should NOT be a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely in an attractive well preserved body, but rather to skid in sideways, chocolate in one hand, martini in the other, body thoroughly used up, totally worn out and screaming 'WOO- HOO what a ride!'"

  23. #48
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    Cul-de-sac within cul de sac

    Earlier I mentioned the cul de sacs in my Swedish home town. Attached is a hybrid aerial photo/map of part of the area. You can clearly see variations on the cul de sac theme, including cul de sacs from cul de sacs. The municipality owns and maintains the main road up to the first level of cul de sac. From this main cul de sac there are several subsidiary ones, that are managed by the local home owners' association. If you look closely you can see cul de sacs whose ends are looped around quite large islands. Then there are cul de sac that end with a smaller circle - only the smallest cars can turn on these without backing. But you will also notice pedestrian/bicycle paths stretching from one cul de sac to the next. These are respected by car drivers, but used by garbage trucks and if necessary other emergency vehicles. Resdients can use them of course when there is an emergency or repair work that closes off a cul de sac close to its mouth. These pedestrian ways are maintained by the municipality.

    This variation on the cul de sac theme gives residents a lot of privacy and quiet, while still meeting practical and emergency needs. Since the are is "run" by the homeowners themselves (about 200 homeowners in an association in this case) they can also set speed limits on their own cul de sacs - often 10 to 20 kms per hour. A lot of kids play on these fairly narrow lanes (5 m wide). Condition: resident and visitor drivers respect the pedestrian ways.
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails m_SalemSweden.jpg  

  24. #49
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    Cul-de-Sac + 1/8-Mile-Squared Street Grid

    Getting into this discussion late with my own couple of cents...

    Especially after pondering the APA model street connectivity ordinance, my thinking lately has been that, while a simple street grid is preferable, if development can at least provide an intact grid with 660-foot (eighth-mile) blocks (or functional equivalent) and with properties fronting on those blocks (i.e., streets not lined with high walls and fences), cul-de-sacs and loops within those squares will do. Especially if they're short (200-ish feet deep). Private cul-de-sacs, even with gates, would work.

    The main thing I'm thinking is that the private realm not overwhelm the public realm and its needs, including circulation. An unbroken half-mile of residential lots is overwhelming in that sense, especially from the pedestrian's point of view. With an eighth-mile grid and lots of at most 6,000 sf, though, it appears a neighborhood can have cul-de-sacs and still have a reasonable street network.

    I'd still prefer to see a tighter grid, but I don't think that's politically possible where I am. (And I'd certainly like to see paths out the ends of cul-de-sacs.)

    And it should go without saying that the streets must have sidewalks -- on both sides of the street, at least on the through streets. And not those curb-side sidewalks that dip every several feet for a curb-cut, but sidewalks that are away from the curb by at least a few feet.

  25. #50
    Cyburbian
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    signage

    streck, take a look at the "no through road for vehicles" sign.

    http://www.highwaycode.gov.uk/signs07.htm

    I believe it is used everywhere with British influence.

    Dead ends don't sound so dead when we don't spell it out.

    *moderator, kindly check the link to see if it's aggreable to you.

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