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Thread: cul-de-sacs

  1. #1
    Cyburbian Tom R's avatar
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    cul-de-sacs

    Is anyone else fighting the battle between developers and residents wanting cul-de-sacs and the need for street stubs and interconnections. We are proponent of the prudent use of the latter, in fact it is in our subdivision regulations but we're still getting a battle. Any suggested ammunition?
    WALSTIB

  2. #2
    Cyburbian
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    Dumb question: You listed developers and citizens as those who want cul de sacs. Isn't that everybody? The will of the people and all that?

  3. #3
    maudit anglais
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    I deleted this thread from the Planes, Trains and Automobiles thread. Although it fits there, it also fits here - and we don't want to have 2 separate discussions going on at the same time on the same topic.

    Cul-de-sacs are good and bad. If properly designed, and part of an overall subdivision plan that still maintains good access to the street grid, and to potential future development, they work - and as gkmo said, people want'em. But a subdivision consisting wholly of cul-de-sacs off a single looping collector, with limited access, no pedestrian links, and which cuts off potential links to future development they can really be a horrible form of development.

    As in anything, balance is the key.

  4. #4
          perryair's avatar
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    I think its important to make the distinction between what people want as far as for their personal and private use and what people want in their public environment.

    Every person wants a cul-de-sac so that they alone can enjoy the benefits of having a private street.

    Every person also wants to be able to have an easy commute, and have many options when it comes to driving somewhere.

    And since people can not control the behavior of others (limiting the rights of others to have these cul-de-sacs so that they can have more free flowing traffic movement), all they can do is control their own behavior, opt to pay an extra 10 grand for their house and live on a cul-de-sac.

    Just because millions of people make individually selfish decisions that benefit them personally doesn't make it right..

  5. #5
    Cyburbian
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    I think if millions of people are making the SAME decision to live on the cul-de-sac, it certainly doesn't make it WRONG!

  6. #6
    Cyburbian Runner's avatar
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    Wrong might not be the best word. However, cul de sacs are probably not the wise answer. On the micro level of the individual house it might seem good. However, on the macro level of the community as a whole and the full life picture the grid will prove far superior.

    The problem is getting the buyer and especially the developers to think beyond the short term immediate gratification. I think its primarily an education issue of explaining the alternatives.
    Cheers,
    UrbanRunner
    :)
    _____________________________
    WWJJD
    "What Would Jane Jacobs Do?"

  7. #7
          perryair's avatar
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    Just because something is not right doesn't make it wrong. I'm sure G.W. looks at the world in that manner, but it's not how it is.

    millions of people choose to shoot up heroin or snort coke every day and I wouldn't try to justify that being correct just because they do it.

    sometimes you get a socially inefficient outcome whenever the only benefit that you measure is the personal one. if there was a way to charge developers a traffic access penalty of the true costs to society for every cul-de-sac they build, you'll have a lot fewer people living on them.

  8. #8
    Cyburbian
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    That cost you speak of is imagined or at the very least difficult to quantify. If you can quantify it, please do.

    Would you be in favor of eliminating this design choice?

    The primary reason to live on a cul-de sac is, I guess, it is safe, plain and simply. Safe for children because of the drastic reduction in through trips.

    To liken the decision to purchase a house on a cul de sac, for the safety and convenience of family, as well as an investment, to the illegal act of drugs, is foolishly hysterical.

  9. #9

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    :)

    gkmo: you are right of course. Sometimes the neotraditionalists do oversell their case. True belief can lead to that.

    Where I disagree with you is that the cul-de-sac system may be safer in the immediate vicinity of the house, but the whole cul-de-sac-collector-45 mph six lane arterial system is in fact unsafe and disconnecting overall-particularly if you are unwilling to ferry your child around in an SUV (another personal choice that is safer for the chooser but more dangerous for the rest of us) to every single destination. Kids can have no independence in the 1200-unit cul-de-sac and arterial communities of today. But, since every "success-oriented" kid is fully booked with planned activities, organized team sports, tutoring, and required community affairs "volunteering", that doesn't matter any more, I guess.

    God, I'm glad I grew up in the 60s and 70s. I would hate to be a kid today.

  10. #10
    Cyburbian Tom R's avatar
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    cul-de-sacs

    Thanks for the input.

    Personally, I think that cul-de-sacs have a place such as where there are insurmountable barriers etc. but they're over used. I just hope I can sell it to our planning commission.
    WALSTIB

  11. #11
          perryair's avatar
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    That cost you speak of is imagined or at the very least difficult to quantify. If you can quantify it, please do.
    I'm just a first year planning graduate student. I'm sure that if there was an easy way to figure out societal costs for such things, someone would have done so by now.

    But i'm sure that noone could argue that the urban landscape that is full of cul-de-sacs presents a cost to people trying to commute in the form of increased traffic. The traffic keeps people away from their families, keeps them from spending time with friends, keeps them from doing other activities that they would like to do. It increases the costs to businesses to ship and transfer goods. It inceases the costs to the environment in the form of extra pollution from all the time spent idling or driving in cars. then theres sprawl and destruction of farmlands caused indirectly and blah blah blah and etc.etc.etc.

    I'm not in favor of eliminating or regulating this design/life/house choice. You want to live on a cul-de-sac, then go live on a cul-de-sac. I'm just trying to say that there is a greater cost to society than the cost that the individual will pay in extra real estate value to buy that 'house on the cul-de-sac'

    And nowhere did I make a direct connection for drug use and cul-de-sacs. just trying to debunk the argument that you can justify an action based purely on a "Well, it's what people want" argument. The market works in many different shades of grey.

  12. #12
    INACTIVE
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    I think that the arguement that it is not the government's business to regulate the design of streets and highways is invalid. The government already regulates streets for the benefit of people to drive. For example the government says you have to provide a street, not a sidewalk. The street must be wide and curve gradually for vehicle speed. Arterials must contain few crossings for vehicle speed..... What you are saying is that government can regulate for car convenience but not for pedestrian and biking convenience, which would be more practical on well connected streets. Developers and residents have become used to the auto based system and wonder why you want to change the formula which has existed for 50 years.

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