Thursday, May 22, 2008

Cutting out cul-de-sacs?

   Suburban sprawl usually conjures up images of massive exurbs outside a big (or formerly big) city.  But even smaller American cities have experienced residents leaving the central town for planned subdivisions with big houses, winding streets, and “choke” points at community exits clogged with SUVs and pickups.  One method of tweaking land use law to improve traffic flow and cut mileage is to discourage the creation of new cul-de-sac developments.  Long popular with suburbanites, dead-end streets (to use the older and less fashionable name) are a classic example of a land use that benefits Culdesac the on-site residents but works to the detriment of others in the community.  Even cities such as Fayetteville, Arkansas, perceive the problem of suburban cul-de-sacs to be significant enough to consider a new policy of discouraging their construction in most locations.  The Northwest Arkansas Times quotes a city planner as suggesting that the change would improve traffic flow and might even encourage some Fayettevillers to get out of their cars and walk to buy their gallons of milk.  Even the craziest dreams start will a single step …

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