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Coherent argument about cul-de-sacs

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#41
cul-de-sacs aren't very pedestrian friendly however, they also promote isolationism, and take up much more room than a grid system.

Try having an urban environment with cul-de-sacs, it just won't happen.
 

Linda_D

Cyburbian
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#42
cul-de-sacs aren't very pedestrian friendly however, they also promote isolationism, and take up much more room than a grid system.

Try having an urban environment with cul-de-sacs, it just won't happen.
Not every design decision is about promoting an "urban environment".

How does a group of SFD homes on individual lots clustered around a cul-de-sac promote "isolationism" more than a high-rise condo or apartment building with in-unit laundry facilities, an underground parking garage, tiny balconies, and no "amenities" like a gym/pool etc? Saying "hi, how are you?" in passing somebody in the hall that you vaguely recognize as living on your floor is hardly a "friendship", nor is it likely to lead to more.
 
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#43
Did I ever say highrise living wasn't promoting isolationism?

And yes, all developments need to be about urban environments, and if they aren't, the less-dense development can't consume a lot of land and have to be supported by mass transit, which in turn, has to be supported by sufficient density.
Either way, even if you don't have an urban environment, you still need them to use mass transit, you still need retail in walking distance, you need a pedestrian-friendly environment. This is not something cul-de-sacs promote.

Also, as the urban environment expands out from the core as the city gets denser, the cul-de-sacs would be very tough to help weave into the urban fabric without the demolition of many of the buildings and streets.

Ideally, suburbs need to have a density of at least 7 units/acre. However if they do not, the majority of the residents would still have to use mass transit and walking. No matter what development occurs, it can never be sprawl, has to be pedestrian friendly, promote mass transit, and has to promote transit/walking over personal automobiles.
 
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#44
cul-de-sacs aren't very pedestrian friendly however, they also promote isolationism,
You haven't been to my neighborhood where its seems people are always walking, jogging, skateboarding, and biking.

and take up much more room than a grid system..
I'd like to see the analysis.

Try having an urban environment with cul-de-sacs, it just won't happen.
Some people don't wish to live in an urban environment. I don't. Yes, I live on a cul-de-sac in a low density suburb. And I like it.
 
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#45
However, do you drive to work? People can't drive to work, and if they do, it'd be tough for them to do so.

Also cities cannot build low density all the time, because that would equal sprawl, there would have to be sufficient density.
People do walk, jog, etc... in suburbs, I never said they didn't, but there is still very little life in suburbs. And that is a lot different than walking to go to the store, bar, movies, etc...

Cul-de-sacs would definitely take up much more room, at least, how idiots who do the suburban lollipop type cul-de-sac design takes up much more room. Like I said, people have to either be able to walk to shop or take a bus to shop, not take their vehicle.

Sprawl and current suburban design trends (that aren't classified as New Urbanism) are all wrong.

I'm sure there are ways to develop cul-de-sacs to where they are more pedestrian friendly, less vehicle friendly, etc... but the fact is that, the bad/ignorant planners don't develop them that way today.

Also, how do people park behind their houses with sufficient density in cul-de-sacs? The only way is with a driveway from the front of the house to the back, and that would have to reduce the size of the house or the yard in order to keep the density.
 
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#46
However, do you drive to work? People can't drive to work...
In my pick-up. I do. Seven miles one-way. Alone. And I drive fast. (It's how I got here from Idaho, too.)
Cul-de-sacs would definitely take up much more room, at least, how idiots who do the suburban lollipop type cul-de-sac design takes up much more room.
As I said, I'd like to see the analysis.
I'm sure there are ways to develop cul-de-sacs to where they are more pedestrian friendly, less vehicle friendly, etc... but the fact is that, the bad/ignorant planners don't develop them that way today.
My work is done here.

Also, how do people park behind their houses with sufficient density in cul-de-sacs? The only way is with a driveway from the front of the house to the back, and that would have to reduce the size of the house or the yard in order to keep the density.
My garage is on the back side of my house. Undevelopable wetlands are on the back and one side.

Good bye.
 

cdub

Cyburbian
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#47
In my pick-up. I do. Seven miles one-way. Alone. And I drive fast. (It's how I got here from Idaho, too.)
Are you noticing more and more people on the roads with your commute? Or are you in a rural enough area that traffic doesn't increase due to the extreme low density. Did you notice changes in your driving patterns with increased fuel costs?

As I said, I'd like to see the analysis. My work is done here.
Are we comparing residential areas only, or including commercial needs as well? People have needs beyond their property lines, so if we throw commercial into the mix, do you think cul-de-sac type development with the conventional big box/ strip development is more efficient than a mixed use environment where uses can co-mingle and one can actually walk?
 
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#48
On point one, why does John Q. Public care? John may want to live somewhere where mixed-use is not allowed. (no commercial traffic, less noise).

On point two, I think that you have mistaken design for social science. It's O.K; a lot of planners seem to do this. Design is not a cure, nor is it a scapegoat.....and all the junk science in the world is not going to convince me as a person, or as a professional planner.

Planners want to talk about choice...transportation choice, housing choice, and recreational choice.... until the choice smacks up against a planning dogma, such as cul-de-sacs. Wham! No more choice, it had better accommodate the latest planning clichés (NU, Traditional, etc). It is so much buzzword bingo. Design should always be approached with an open mind and an objective. The objective in the case of designing where I live is about choice.....

As planners we need to hear all sides, period. Check out this site for a view of the other side if you dare....:-|

http://ti.org/antiplanner/


(This rant was not aimed at you personally Luca, I just got cranky for a moment.)
There is nothing inherently wrong with a cul-de-sac; they have a purpose, but like anything, if its use is abused, there can be negative consequences. I grew up on a dead-end street (due to a public park / woods on a steep hillside) and now live on a street within a functional grid. The traffic on my current street is similar to the traffic on my dead-end street - virtually non-existent. The traffic grid around me provided multiple options. Just yesterday, I drove two blocks to the arterial road and found that it was blocked, but the grid allowed me to get around it easily. There was no back-up because everyone had options. When cul-de-sacs are overused, those options are not available, and backups occur more frequently. Local streets, including cul-de-sacs are part of a transportation network, and like any network, if it becomes unbalanced, it will not function well.
 
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#50
The problem with the cul-de-sac is not the cul-de-sac itself
From an outsider's perspective, ‘connectivity’ as a central tenet of residential planning, and the position that the grid layout is superior to the cul-de-sac takes quite a while to start to understand, if not appreciate. In Malaysia we don’t have the square miles of disconnected loop and lollipop housing schemes in our suburbs; what we have are sprawling developments of super-connected terrace houses, with back-lanes, and side- lanes at maximum 300’ intervals. We don’t have the equivalent of railroad or frontier towns or Jeffersonian cities or New York with their rectilinear grid layouts to be sentimental about. Our towns were mainly unplanned at the outset: rectilinear street plans came later – in the form of terrace house developments that sprouted everywhere. Largely of uniform design and monotonous with a minimum level of communal amenities, they hardly inspire sentimentality about grid plans. The one notable example of gridded townships are the ‘new-villages’ that were set up by the British in the 1950’s, where Chinese farmers (whom the British feared to be communist sympathizers) were forcibly resettled in the fight against insurgency. They have in fact been described as concentration camps. Community feeling in these now sleepy villages is high, but it is doubtful that the residents there would attribute it to the grid layout.

The new-villagers, like the residents in the terrace housing estates, have had to adapt to their environment. Safety from crime and traffic are major concerns. In certain cases, the streets have been modified – most terrace house streets have humps placed on the roads to cut down speeding. Residents have also closed off the back-lanes, under utilized if not useless bits of public circulation space. There are also many cases of residents placing boom-gates at entrances to their neighborhoods and employing guards to man them. Strictly speaking, this is not legal, but local authorities have closed one eye over this, but now the government has come up with regulation to allow for this in new developments and existing neighborhoods, subject to conditions and local authority approval.
 
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#51
Residents have also closed off the back-lanes, under utilized if not useless bits of public circulation space.
Sorry, slightly off-topic moment, as it's not about cul-de-sacs, but I thought that I would mention that most towns that I have been in in the UK still make use of their cut-throughs, ten-foots, whatever the locals call them. They're considered very handy by pedestrians, cyclists, dog-walkers, children playing and so on. They're often used for rubbish collection istead fo the front of the houses. They're not heavily used, but most people who have them nearby would propbably miss them because they make everyday use of them. But then, they tend to exist in the "poorer" areas - bearing in mind that there are very few poverty stricken people in the UK. I myself live below the poverty line, but have a tv, car, computer, etc, so I'm only poor in comparison to my neighbours.

So, anyway, it seems a shame to me that these back-lanes aren't used.
 

KSharpe

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#52
I think the use of cul-de-sacs is more of a problem of lots of individuals owning comparatively small parcels. They want to develop it, but basically, most of them own around 15 acres. When you develop in a piecemeal fashion, cul-de-sacs are a natural outcome. Not a very positive one, but I don' t know what else you can do.
 

jmello

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#53
I think the use of cul-de-sacs is more of a problem of lots of individuals owning comparatively small parcels. They want to develop it, but basically, most of them own around 15 acres. When you develop in a piecemeal fashion, cul-de-sacs are a natural outcome. Not a very positive one, but I don' t know what else you can do.
Require connectivity and stub-outs to adjacent properties. Adopt a collector street plan before development occurs. Plat paper streets.
 
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#55
Dead Ends and Cul de Sacs

People love dead ends because they don't get the traffic and they discourage criminals. The planners are hung up on traffic flow but I am hung up on pleasing my customers so I will continue to give them what they want.
 

cdub

Cyburbian
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#56
You're going to provide cheap gasoline as well?

The traffic argument is a little old, considering the tree system of cul-de-sacs creates major traffic problems at the base of the tree. Residents then complain about that, not realizing they're the cause of it. Crime will happen whether it's on a dead end or on a grid. More and more suburbs are seeing crime levels consistently rising, so sorry, not safe their either. Guess we should gate it off for safety.

Is what you're building actually a case of what people want? Or is it more of a case of that being the only option, because people need a roof and stuff and as a society we now accept the lowest common denominator? Fortunately, I hope, people will/ are beginning to demand better and it's only a matter of time until people realize the crap from the good stuff. I think that whole cheap energy thing will help that as well.
 
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#57
Crime/Gating

You're going to provide cheap gasoline as well?

The traffic argument is a little old, considering the tree system of cul-de-sacs creates major traffic problems at the base of the tree. Residents then complain about that, not realizing they're the cause of it. Crime will happen whether it's on a dead end or on a grid. More and more suburbs are seeing crime levels consistently rising, so sorry, not safe their either. Guess we should gate it off for safety.

Is what you're building actually a case of what people want? Or is it more of a case of that being the only option, because people need a roof and stuff and as a society we now accept the lowest common denominator? Fortunately, I hope, people will/ are beginning to demand better and it's only a matter of time until people realize the crap from the good stuff. I think that whole cheap energy thing will help that as well.
Gating it off presents some problems but it is certainly the best solution to keeping the undesirables out. First thing is that the gates are always malfunctioning. The biggest thing is that it becomes a private road and the residents have to maintain it and get no tax break.
Recently I have noticed that Marion County Florida is refusing to maintain certain public roads in subdivisions. They apparently just want to maintain the collectors outside the subdivisions. I think they probably got this idea when they saw that they didn't have to maintain the private roads in the gated areas. This is going to accelerate the trend to gated communities. If the residents are forced to maintain their roads they are going to want them to be private. The politicians are always faced with budget problems. I think this is already a trend.
Another big problem: Let's say I develop a substantial piece of land. Something in excess of 50 or 100 acres. I do a gated subdivision. I don't want neighboring properties to access my subdivision because I don't know what type of development they might do in the future. For traffic flow , and other valid land use considerations, the planners will want me to provide stub-outs to adjacent property. I will resist this and if my roads are private I have a pretty good argument. I build the roads in my subdivision to carry the traffic in my subdivision, I don't want my roads to turn into collectors for outside properties. I can't get the county to pay for anything. Now they are looking to force the developers to pay for infrastructure outside their own property.
We have a problem here. Planners seem to be oblivious to the money end of things. Wake up guys, all your grand schemes cost money and we have an affordable housing problem.
Does the phrase "champagne taste and beer budget" mean anything to you ? Maybe we are just going to put up with more traffic.
 

Mastiff

Gunfighter
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#58
We have a problem here. Planners seem to be oblivious to the money end of things. Wake up guys, all your grand schemes cost money and we have an affordable housing problem.
Ah yes, blame the planners. I'm not sure to what "grand schemes" you are referring, but I know I follow state law regarding comprehensive planning, then use that to create good development code. You may not like all of it, but it isn't about you. It's about the people who will be living in your development.

Now, if you want to discuss affordable houses, please don't try and tell us that if your costs were lowered, you'd make the housing cheaper. You, as you've stated numerous times, are out to make a profit. I have no issues with you doing that, either... But don't tinkle down my back and tell me it's raining. You will sell lots and houses for what the market will bear, and if your costs are down, you pocket the difference.

The real affordable housing, and I use that term with almost a chuckle, really happens when government is more involved, and not less. Developers have been moving away from HUD and state financed projects because of the major strings attached, and CDCs and larger municipalities have, to some degree, filled the void. At least, that's the way it's been out my way.

Does the phrase "champagne taste and beer budget" mean anything to you ?
Yeah, it means something. Now you can quit reciting it... that's twice. I find it a bit insulting. Unless you've worked in the public sector, you probably have no clue about municipal financing and the problems being faced by cities today.
 
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#59
I’ve read with interest the cul-de-sac debate, and it appears that many argue that the cul-de-sac can provide some things that the grid system does not - namely neighbourhood cohesion, and no through traffic. A modified grid system can also achieve these objectives. I’m not aware of any cul-de-sacs in the many single and two family neighbourhoods of Vancouver (Canada). The grid system is used, but the speed of through traffic is lowered by the use of traffic circles, curb bulges, and narrow streets with on-street parking. In areas where the potential to cut through a residential street is likely, barriers to cars that still allow full pedestrian and cyclist movement can be used. The objectives of a neighbourhood feeling, and reduced traffic flows are very well achieved in this system – and the traffic circles, barriers and curb bulges are planted and maintained often by people who live on the street. It gets people off the residential streets and onto arterials efficiently, and allows for great pedestrian and cyclist movement.

Incidentally, I grew up part time in a cul-de-sac and part time in a townhouse. I think the townhouse won for me, as we had a large common well treed outdoor space with a creek that was open to all the kids, as opposed to fenced in yards.
 

CJC

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#60
I’ve read with interest the cul-de-sac debate, and it appears that many argue that the cul-de-sac can provide some things that the grid system does not - namely neighbourhood cohesion, and no through traffic. A modified grid system can also achieve these objectives. I’m not aware of any cul-de-sacs in the many single and two family neighbourhoods of Vancouver (Canada). The grid system is used, but the speed of through traffic is lowered by the use of traffic circles, curb bulges, and narrow streets with on-street parking. In areas where the potential to cut through a residential street is likely, barriers to cars that still allow full pedestrian and cyclist movement can be used. The objectives of a neighbourhood feeling, and reduced traffic flows are very well achieved in this system – and the traffic circles, barriers and curb bulges are planted and maintained often by people who live on the street. It gets people off the residential streets and onto arterials efficiently, and allows for great pedestrian and cyclist movement.
Vancouver has done a great job with the items you mentioned. A place in the US where I have seen almost the exact same treatment is Berkeley, CA.
 
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