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Will Cul-de-Sacs Go the Way of the Drive-In Movie Theater?

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Urban theorist and suburban promoter Joel Kotkin won't be pleased: DC Streetsblog reports on anti-cul-de-sac trend sweeping the nation, especially in forward-thinking cities like Portland, Austin, and Charlotte. Recently, the state of Virginia severely limited all cul-de-sac developments. What planners "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." Bureaucrats believe that unconnected streets stress arterial roads disproportionately and cause traffic and torn up roads. In April, NPR ran a story about "cul-de-sac communes" springing up in artsy LA places like Topanga Canyon and Santa Monica. It doesn't sound like a bad idea (sharing products or services and reducing carbon footprints), but the story made it sound kind of weird: Topanga Canyon communer Helena Kriel told NPR, "I'd like a communal massage, get somebody who comes up, you get a reduced rate, it's all outside... Ahh, that would be amazing, we should do that!" [Image by Drew Makepeace via Flickr]
· The End of the Road for Cul-de-Sacs [DC Streetsblog]
· A Social Experiment: Communes in Cul-de-Sacs [NPR]