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  1. #1
    Part-time epistemologist invisiblehand's Avatar
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    suburban connectivity

    http://tinyurl.com/c5r4uo

    New VA rules require better connectivity for new suburban construction providing better alternatives to main arterial roads among other things.

  2. #2
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    Quote Originally Posted by invisiblehand View Post
    http://tinyurl.com/c5r4uo

    New VA rules require better connectivity for new suburban construction providing better alternatives to main arterial roads among other things.
    That's fantastic -- I started a thread on the need for through lower-speed streets that link neighboring subdivisions here, and this appears to be exactly what the Virginia law is requiring.

    The suburb that I grew up in in California didn't have completely disconnected subdivisions, but there were a number of gaps -- especially between rail tracks, highways, and certain private planned communities -- where one was forced to detour onto a main arterial.

    Regarding the bicycle-specific infrastructure vs. vehicular cycling debate, I don't really agree with either side. Bike lanes are not a very good guide for how one should ride. While I might sometimes find myself riding in a bike lane, I don't choose my positioning on the road upon the basis of where a bike lane happens to be located. I do ride "vehicularly", but not on 45 mph arterials. Bicycles are not the same class of vehicle as cars (just as scooters and golf carts aren't), as we are unable to maintain the same speeds. I can very easily get around using streets that have a speed limit that I can easily maintain -- namely 25 mph (I do occasionally use 35 mph streets). This is easy to do in almost any urban area that was built prior to the 1950s, but difficult to impossible in almost anything built later. If suburbs with disconnected subdivisions were to connect them all up, they'd become bike-friendly fast.
    Last edited by chriswnw; 03-22-09 at 11:19 AM.

  3. #3
    Randomhead
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    I don't like unplanned development, but this added connectivity has got to be done with a certain amount of care or you just drive traffic into neighborhoods. Having said that, I agree this needed to be done.

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    biking and fighting!
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    Quote Originally Posted by unterhausen View Post
    I don't like unplanned development, but this added connectivity has got to be done with a certain amount of care or you just drive traffic into neighborhoods. Having said that, I agree this needed to be done.
    They could always put in speed humps.

  5. #5
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    Wait. The defense for cul-de-sacs is that robbers don't like them? Wow. How much are we giving up to stop one robbery per million people each year?

    I think we could do better by eliminating 7-11's.

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    Randomhead
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    The traffic in NoVa is just outrageous. I'm surprised that people can stand to live there. It seems like evening rush hour starts at noon.

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    The thing about cul-de-sacs being "robber unfriendly" brings to mind an observation when it comes to crime and bike locks. You don't have to outrun the proverbial bear, just outrun the next guy when it comes to the bear. Likewise, neighborhoods don't "have to" be robber unfriendly, just more robber unfriendly than the next neighborhood.

    Now, when one considers the fact that most (if not the vast majority) of robbers are caught and sent to prison, and the relatively small risk of robbery in anything other than the worst neighborhoods, AND the cost of having these bike-unfriendly cul-de-sacs, one will realize that they are not worth it. Something many people forget is that almost everything has a cost, as well as benefits. Properly weighing them is not easy, and is easily skewed by the rare, dramatic event such as the robbery.
    Same roads, same rights, same rules.
    Boycott Wal-Mart, union-buster.

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    That's a huge issue where I live. We have several neighborhoods where kids ought to be able to ride on residential streets to get to the school, except the neighborhoods are not interconnected. Each one is sealed but for one entrance to a major, arterial street where it is patently unsafe for children to ride. All that would be required is ONE path to connect each subdivision to its neighbor subdivision--it need not even be traversible by automobile.

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    Senior Member SlimAgainSoon's Avatar
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    Whoa ... is this the Virginia I used to know? Sure doesn't sound like it.

    Did the Old Dominion have a political transplant?

  10. #10
    Senior Member degnaw's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ngchen View Post
    Now, when one considers the fact that most (if not the vast majority) of robbers are caught and sent to prison . . .
    About 12 percent of burglaries nationwide were solved in 2007, FBI statistics show.
    Just sayin'.

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    Well, I was thinking of the guns in your face sort of robbery, as opposed to burglary. Robberies are easier to solve, and they typically get more police attention too.
    Same roads, same rights, same rules.
    Boycott Wal-Mart, union-buster.

  12. #12
    Senior Member Dchiefransom's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ngchen View Post
    Well, I was thinking of the guns in your face sort of robbery, as opposed to burglary. Robberies are easier to solve, and they typically get more police attention too.

    There are most likely fewer robberies in these neighborhoods, and they are actually referring to homes being burglarized. The more avenues of escape from an area, the better for thieves. Paved trails for bikes and pedestrians between subdivisions would serve the residents well.
    Silver Eagle Pilot

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    Is this law actually banning the construction of new cul-de-sacs? Many sites that link to the article seem to be claiming it does. My understanding of the article is that it simply mandates a minimum level of connectivity between subdivisions.

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    Speaking of which, for those who absolutely adore cul-de-sacs, what would happen if a mandate were put in instead for nice bike lanes on the arterials the subdivisions exit upon? The bike lanes would be required to be added, for the subdivision to be approved.
    Same roads, same rights, same rules.
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  15. #15
    genec genec's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ngchen View Post
    Speaking of which, for those who absolutely adore cul-de-sacs, what would happen if a mandate were put in instead for nice bike lanes on the arterials the subdivisions exit upon? The bike lanes would be required to be added, for the subdivision to be approved.
    That is the mandate here for new subdivisions... only with 55MPH arterial roads, you still don't get much bike traffic. Mom and Pop just don't feel comfortable letting 12 year old Junior out on a 55MPH arterial road.

    Now put in connecting MUPs, and the whole feeling of the area changes... Suddenly you have quiet walking paths and nice "country lane" bike paths... and folks do get out and use them.

    The issues of burglary are mitigated by good lighting in common areas. The reality is that every home is accessable by a street and driveway... the MUPs are not a viable path for any burglar wanting to cart off computers, TVs and the like. Neighborhood watch helps for home invasion robberies.

    But regardless, it is the high speed arterial roads that robbers and burglars are going to use to leave the area.

  16. #16
    biking and fighting!
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    Quote Originally Posted by genec View Post
    That is the mandate here for new subdivisions... only with 55MPH arterial roads, you still don't get much bike traffic. Mom and Pop just don't feel comfortable letting 12 year old Junior out on a 55MPH arterial road.
    Yeah, bike lanes and wide outside lanes only make cycling on arterials slightly more comfortable.

    Now put in connecting MUPs, and the whole feeling of the area changes... Suddenly you have quiet walking paths and nice "country lane" bike paths... and folks do get out and use them.
    MUPs are fine for limited purposes, but they are no substitute for interconnected low-speed streets. One possible law: For every high-speed arterial, there must be a parallel route (if the street is curvy instead of straight, that's fine) with a 25 mph speed limit. You can even add speed humps if you want to guarantee that speed limit for cyclists. Bike boulevards, basically.

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    One of the plusses of the bike lanes on the arterials, FWIW, is that they would benefit through-cyclists as well as making drivers more aware of bikes on the road. As for junior who might prefer walking anyway, perhaps sidewalks should also be included. One thing I have noticed out here in the town of Farragut (which has mandated building sidewalks for new construction), is that few people are on them, walking or otherwise. Could it be that people typically are unwilling to walk (but hopefully willing to ride) for distances longer than say a quarter mile or so?
    Same roads, same rights, same rules.
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  18. #18
    genec genec's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by chriswnw View Post
    Yeah, bike lanes and wide outside lanes only make cycling on arterials slightly more comfortable.

    MUPs are fine for limited purposes, but they are no substitute for interconnected low-speed streets. One possible law: For every high-speed arterial, there must be a parallel route (if the street is curvy instead of straight, that's fine) with a 25 mph speed limit. You can even add speed humps if you want to guarantee that speed limit for cyclists. Bike boulevards, basically.
    I too prefer bike boulevards... but they can be awful difficult to add back into existing neighborhoods... whereas often those tree-like suburban cul-d-sacs are easily connected by adding MUPs to existing greenbelts.

    Heck, if I had my real wishes, it would be to have well designed bike "freeways" as part of the master plan with below grade crossings of major streets and on-ramp/off-ramp connections to streets that can complete the transportation network. But golly gee, that takes a real dedication to cycling as transportation... and uh, forethought.

  19. #19
    biking and fighting!
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    Quote Originally Posted by genec View Post
    I too prefer bike boulevards... but they can be awful difficult to add back into existing neighborhoods...
    True, although you don't always need completely new streets, and they don't have to be geometrically parallel or completely straight either. Take a look at the neighborhood that i grew up in. Grimmer Blvd, Fremont Blvd, Paseo Padre Parkway and Driscoll Rd are the arterials. The side streets terminate at the railroad tracks and at Grimmer Blvd. There are quite a few options for connecting these side streets, although it might require that the city buy up a house or two for demolition.

  20. #20
    biking and fighting!
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    A story relevant to this topic: http://www.streetsblog.org/2009/03/2...ranspo-policy/

    I commented upon it, of course.

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