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Thread: Rural v. Urban infrastructure

  1. #1

    Rural v. Urban infrastructure

    I work for a rural county that is a bedroom community for a larger metro area. We are trying to maintain a rural character, but we do support and encourage conservation subdivisons in order to preserve open space.

    I have had quite a debate with the engineer over the use of curb and gutter on roads that front lots approx. 10,000 sq. ft to acre. While we may have some of these lots, they are intermixed with some that are 20 acres. I look at this as we need to be consistant, but it doesn't look rural, feel rural and it can't be hap-hazardly done. There has to be a consistancy. Has anyone covered this ground and what course did you take?

  2. #2
    Cyburbian Budgie's avatar
    Feb 2000
    Sans Souci


    What is the debate? Appropriate rural design standards? Limited access? Rural LOS? Maintenance costs?

  3. #3
    Cyburbian SGB's avatar
    Nov 2002
    Champlain-Adirondack Biosphere Reserve
    I think that standards might be appropriat for subdivisions that create new roads, but on existing roads a waiver could be considered.

  4. #4

    May 1997
    Williston, VT
    Engineers are sooooo good at creating problems other engineers will get paid to solve! Curb and gutter are not part of rural aesthetic, but the main argument against using it in rural (and suburban) developments is its impact on water quality. Curbing channels water, turning every road into a def facto stream channel. The resulting increase in the rate and volume of runoff must be accommodated somewhere in the landscape. Once in a while it ends up in someone's basement, but usually it ends up in a stream channel, carrying pollutants and changing the channel geometry in ways that adversely affect both up and down stream property owners, public roads, and, of course, the aquatic and riparian communities. So, unless you also have a system of storm sewers or swales and detention basins, etc. (which it sounds like your engineer is setting you up to spend millions on, but is unnecessary if development at the densities you are talking about is well-designed), the best thing to do with runoff in a development of relatively low density is virtally always to have it infiltrate where it falls, or nearby. There are exceptions. You might need curbing to channel water down a slope to an infiltration swale, for example, but the exceptions mostly happen in poorly designed subdivisions.

  5. #5
    Cyburbian Cardinal's avatar
    Aug 2001
    The Cheese State
    Originally posted by Lee Nellis
    Curbing channels water, turning every road into a def facto stream channel.
    As an intermittent stream, would it then fall under the jurisdiction of USACE?

  6. #6

    Oct 2001
    Solano County, California
    I can see it now-every repaving project now requires a permit from the Army Corps! lol.

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