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The Forum > Article Comments > Are cul de sacs a curse? > Comments

Are cul de sacs a curse? : Comments

By Alan Davies, published 19/5/2010

One of the tenets of new urbanism is that streets should be laid out in a rectilinear grid to maximise connectivity.

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Urban "Planning" as a discipline has been based on the idea that provision of food to the residents is an externality - does not need to be considered. However, this has only applied during the previous 50 years of energy abundance (allowing cheap transport) and, as oil is now in decline, food supply (and e.g. recycling of nutrients, aka "humanure" to food producing land) will become critical. In future, urban planners (if the profession continues to exist - unlikely) will need to consider how to put people close to sufficent land upon which they can grow food. This is why those spruiking infill development and "TOD"s are totally off-target and are just acting as apologists for the property developers that are pushing for increased population so they reap profits from the pressure for more residental accommodation.
Posted by michael_in_adelaide, Wednesday, 19 May 2010 10:35:59 AM
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Cul de sacs are a blessing for the reasons you mention:
<<...low traffic...children...very young...playing in the street...donít have issues with traffic noise...create a sense of a place...We got to know all our neighbours well...shared child supervision responsibilities...annual lunch in the>> park at the end of the street.
We met more people in our cul de sac in the first few months here than we met in the nine years at our previous suburban through-street address.
Posted by Proxy, Wednesday, 19 May 2010 11:10:46 PM
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I live in a relatively new residential development area and it's based on the idea that there are no cross-streets, just T intersections mainly ending in cul-de-sacs. Traffic mainly flows along designated main access roads which are are wider.

The overall effect is to slow vehicular traffic down and stop non-residents taking short-cuts through the suburb and, as the article says, it seems to be working. It's a much more pedestrian-friendly environment.
Posted by wobbles, Thursday, 20 May 2010 1:06:53 AM
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I'm in favour of cul-de-sacs for all the reasons Wobbles gives. But my cul-de-sac is at the end of a major road where a park is between it and another major road. Drivers who fail to understand the No Through Road sign constantly come at high speed down the road and are no doubt surprised to see the black and white painted barriers. We waited quite a while to have the latest splintered remnants replaced.

Another drawback is that the telecommunications cable does not come down our end of the road but turns up a side street to yet another rectilineal major road, forcing me to stay with a rather inefficient server or go on to wireless (non-phone line) broadband.

To comment on the original article about the need to be close to land where food could be grown - how shortsighted was the real estate agents' spin of 'low maintenance garden', suggesting that a large garden was a burden that was better turned into a rentable unit. Those gardens won't return.

We had the best example in the European migrants of the 1950-1960s whose back and front lawns were transformed into veritable market gardens. Australians scoffed at the tell-tale tomatoes in the front gardens -- but 20 years on, how many Australians managed to buy a house for each of their children as a wedding present? We are such slow learners.

And now our council wants to put allotment gardens in our park for those who don't have gardens. No, keep the parks for the people is the cry. I grow my vegies in containers in a corner of the carpark, so I scoffed at the protest petition and put in my compost bin.
Posted by Polly Flinders, Thursday, 20 May 2010 1:11:53 PM
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