Two Maps Show How We Designed Walking Out of the Suburbs

Picture 13

Having a finely grained street grid is incredibly important to walkable communities, as the above graphic from the Sightline Institute demonstrates. These side-by-side maps show how windy, disconnected, suburban streets make it difficult-to-impossible to get around on foot.

This is why Happy City author Charles Montgomery noted in Slate that “cul de sacs are bad for your health.” It’s also why advocates for healthy cities were horrified and amused when Cato Institute “scholar” Randall O’Toole recently suggested turning gridded streets in rust belt cities into cul de sacs “so that criminals have fewer escape routes.” Spending lots of money to ruin the street grid is an absolutely terrible idea, especially in cities struggling to provide basic services to their residents.

As Transport Initiatives, a U.K.-based transportation consultancy, points out, the one-mile walk coverage could be extended even more in the first example by adding some diagonal routes, like the street grids in Chicago and Washington, DC.

Hat Tip to Walk Score on the graphic.

ALSO ON STREETSBLOG

Is Charlotte the Least Walkable City in America?

|
Walk Score just released its annual list of the nation’s most walkable cities, and the top of the list generally looks like what you’d expect. New York, San Francisco, Boston, and Philadelphia took the top four spots, though our friends at Transit Miami did take strong exception to their hometown rating right up there in […]

Retrofitting the Suburban Strip

|
Many an urban thinker has pondered how to retrofit the suburbs for an age of energy scarcity. With so much car-oriented development already built, the question often arises: Is sprawl fixable? In an article recently published on Planetizen, Galina Tachieva made the case for repairing sprawl by filling in large suburban lots with townhouses and […]

How Can Suburban Communities Repair Disconnected Streets?

|
Winding, suburban-style streets that end in cul-de-sacs make it harder for people to walk in their communities and funnel traffic to a few major thoroughfares, leading to dangerous street designs and mounting congestion. But the people who live on dead-end streets tend to like the fact that they don’t have to deal with much traffic.  […]

The Perils of Cul-de-Sac Development

|
Loads of good stuff today on the Streetsblog Network. Portland Transport has a post on the connection between cul-de-sac development and safety for all street users, as discussed at the Congress for the New Urbanism Transportation Summit in Portland. What are the dangers of cul-de-sac development? (Photo: TheMuuj via Flickr.) For me the highlight presentation […]

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: […]