The End of the Road for Cul-de-sacs?

Today on the Streetsblog Network, Connecticut Smart Growth asks for a reconsideration of the cul-de-sac. As the post notes, a couple of important studies in recent years have highlighted how this iconic type of suburban development causes unsafe and costly traffic problems. Now governments in several parts of the country are discouraging such dead-end developments:

3442550309_1eb0cb7948.jpgThe cul-de-sac’s glory days may be past. (Photo: piermario via Flickr)

Early last year the state of Virginia became the first state to severely limit cul-de-sacs from future development.  Similar actions have been taken in Portland Oregon, Austin, Texas, and Charlotte, North Carolina.
 What they are beginning to realize is that the cul-de-sac street grid
uses land inefficiently, discourages walking and biking, and causes an
almost complete dependence on driving, with attendant pollution and
energy use. Furthermore, town officials are beginning to realize that
unconnected streets cost more money to provide services to and force
traffic onto increasingly crowded arterial roads, which then, in many
cases, need to be widened (more tax money).…

With municipal and state budgets at the breaking point, why aren’t
CT officials looking at land use patterns and their accompanying
expenditures and begin the process of growing smarter? I don’t know
about you, but I am willing to live without the cul-de-sac if it would
save me some tax money. 

More from around the network: Beat Bike Blog has a great little item about an older gentleman who rides his bike in Hartford, Connecticut:

In this bike’s owner, we have personified the nullification of every
excuse anyone has ever given for not riding. You think you’re too old?
Unless you are well into your 70’s or older, this man has you beat. Too
cold? Temps were in the low 20s this particular afternoon. Are you too
tired, too sore, too out of shape? I invite you to check out the custom
cane mount. This man walks with a cane, hooks it on to the rack and
frame of his heavy single-speed bike and rides on.

And Tucson Bike Lawyer has the story of a good Samaritan who chased down a drunk driver after she hit and dragged a bicyclist — and took her keys away from her so she couldn’t flee the scene. 

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