The Cul-de-Sac Backlash

Some communities are limiting or outright banning cul-de-sacs, but residents still value the privacy and security they provide.
August 29, 2006, 2pm PDT | davarnado
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"Across the country, this staple of suburban development is drawing criticism from a growing number of planners and government officials, who say it should become an endangered species."

"Homeowners found that the cul-de-sac limited traffic, creating a sense of privacy, while encouraging ties among neighbors, who could hardly avoid one another. Developers liked the cul-de-sac because it made it possible to build on land unsuited to a grid street pattern and because home buyers were willing to pay a premium to live on one."

"But now the cul-de-sac is excoriated in certain quarters, especially by New Urbanists, as a detriment to security, community and efficient transportation."

Northfield, a city of 17,000 about 45 miles south of Minneapolis, passed an ordinance several years ago to severely limit the use of cul-de-sacs. Other cities have tried to reinvent cul-de-sacs as through streets, to the protest of residents.

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Published on Sunday, August 27, 2006 in The New York Times
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