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Neighborhood connectivity


Cyburbian Emeritus
Our land division ordinances encourage - but don't require -street and pedestrain linkages between developments. Problem is, there is no set standard and the pol's tend to bow to neighborhood "isolationist pressure" quicker than a skin head at a Pat Buchanan rally (no relation to my Avatar - I promise).

We have countless street stubs that end at plat lines, and when the bordering property developed, they waived the requirement to connect, leaving an embarrassing scar on the landscape.

At the New York APA conference a few years ago I sat through a session (I think from some folks from Oregon) which ranked developments on a point system to determine if they had sufficient connectivity. It was complicated and made me bleed from the eye sockets.

Anyone have a good example of a connectivity requirement or linkage requirement to share?


block lengths/dead end streets

A creative way that I have seen work in 2 cities in Texas is to include block standards in the subdivision ordinances. Good luck!!

Cedar Park, TX:

Sec. 9.310 Deadend Streets
When the Planning and Zoning Commission finds that the most desirable residential plan requires laying out a dead-end street, it shall be the option of the commission to require a
cul-de-sac or to allow the street to simply end at the property line. Action of the commission under this option will be in consideration of future street layout planning. If it is found that the street should terminate in a cul-de-sac, the cul-de-sac shall be in conformance with the Transportation Criteria Manual as adopted in Chapter 10, Traffic Control, of the City of Cedar Park Code of Ordinances. Cul-de-sacs should be designed so that stormwater drainage will be contained within the ROW of the cul-de-sac. Cul-desacs should be oriented so that stormwater drainage will drain down the throat of the culde-sac to connect with street ROW rather than through a drainage easement located between or through lots, unless such an orientation to connect with street ROW is not feasible. (Ordinance 97-014 adopted 4/10/97)

Sec. 9.311 Block Lengths
Residential blocks in subdivisions shall not exceed twelve hundred (1,200) feet in length unless such blocks are parallel to and adjacent to a thoroughfare, in which case such
blocks shall not exceed fifteen hundred (1,500) feet in length. Commercial and industrial block lengths may be up to two thousand (2,000) feet in length; provided, that the
requirements of traffic circulation and utility services are met. Block lengths may be varied according to the requirements of circulation, utility service and topography. (1988
Revised Code of Ordinances, Chapter 8, Section 3K)

Sec. 9.312 Block Widths
Block widths in subdivisions shall be such as to allow for two (2) tiers of lots back to back, except where abutting a thoroughfare, to which access to the lots is prohibited, or
where prevented by topographical conditions or size of the property. (1988 RevisedCode of Ordinances, Chapter 8, Section 3L)

Leander, TX:
Section 45. Blocks and Lots.

Except as provided otherwise in this Section, the terms and provisions of the Zoning Ordinance establishing the minimum lot area, width, setback line, side yard and rear yard requirements for each zoning or use category are incorporated herein by reference. Such regulations and standards shall be applied to property within the City limits based upon the zoning of the property and to property within the extraterritorial jurisdiction based on the land use proposed by the developer.

(a) Blocks.

(1) The length, width, and shape of blocks shall meet the following standards:

(i) Provide adequate building sites (lots) suitable to the special needs of the type of use designated on the plat;

(ii) Accommodate lots of the size and dimensions required by this Section;

(iii) Provide for convenient access, circulation, control, and safety of street traffic;

(iv) Minimize reductions in the capacity of adjacent streets in so far as possible by reducing the number of turning movement conflicts;

(v) Provide an appropriate response to the limitations and opportunities of topography. and

(vi) Increase the ability of building sites (lots) to receive or to be protected from solar gain as the season requires in order to improve utility efficiency and increase the livability of each lot.

(2) Residential blocks shall not exceed one thousand three hundred (1,300) feet nor be less than five hundred (500) feet in length, except as otherwise provided for herein.

(3) Blocks along arterial streets shall not be less than one thousand six hundred (1,600) feet.

(4) The width of blocks shall be sufficient to accommodate two (2) tiers of lots with minimum depth as required by this Section, exceptions to this width shall be permitted in blocks adjacent to major streets, railroads, waterways, or other topographical features prohibiting a second lot tier.

(5) The Commission may, at the Preliminary Plat phase, require the dedication of an easement or right-of-way not less than ten (10) feet wide bisecting the center of any block in excess of eight hundred (800) feet in length to accommodate utilities, drainage facilities, and/or pedestrian access to greenbelts or park areas.