The Beloved Cul-de-Sac Gets Critical Press – L.A. Times

The cul-de-sac is losing favor with most planners and many homeowners, minus sprawl-lovin’ Southern California, according to a recent L.A. Times article. After decades hearing of trapped teenagers and families forced to drive everywhere to access basic services, communities nationwide are seeking alternatives. A neighborhood in Irvine California is transforming cul-de-sac woes by simply adding bridges and paths that link otherwise isolated housing tracts to neighboring schools, shopping centers, and churches. Retrofitting the suburbs can start with simple steps.

New Urbanist stars--Jeff Speck, author of Suburban Nation, and UC Berkeley professor, Michael Southworth—put in their two cents. Their take home message is clear: walkable, mixed-use communities are a hit with families and will surely become even more popular with rising fuel costs and busy soccer moms. Of course, the allure of having a round parking lot at your front door still attracts many homeowners, but New Urbanists can count on cul-de-sacs becoming a fading fad—compact, mixed-use development is totally “in,” surely to be the American norm once more.

Planners go 'round and around over cul-de-sacs
Once a homeowner's dream, the dead-end street is falling out of favor everywhere -- except Southern California.
By Dawn Bonker, Special to The Times
March 24, 2007

From the article: "The problem with the cul-de-sac is not the cul-de-sac itself," says Jeff Speck, director of design at the National Endowment for the Arts and coauthor of "Suburban Nation: The Rise of Sprawl and the Decline of the American Dream." Over time, he says, "very few streets carry most of the traffic and therefore must be exceedingly wide, creating an environment that is generally unwalkable."

To read the full article, click here.


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