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Old 05-01-02, 06:51 PM   #1
LittleBigMan
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Grids vs. Loops

Old city streets are often grids allowing you to get anywhere, anyway.

Modern neighborhoods are "loops," which do not allow you to pass through, but circle and come back out. These neighborhoods are connected to a "mother city" by high speed arteries.

This is bicycle discrimination. Grids are great for biking.
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Old 05-01-02, 07:05 PM   #2
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Now you're speaking my language. Recently I looked at a map of the Philly Metro Area. Starting in Center City you have tight grids that are great for walking and biking and terrible for driving. As you get out to the old suburbs there are still grids but they are bigger grids to accomodate cars. As you get further out from Philly you enter the sprawl. Here Cul-de-sacs are the standard. The idea of this is to limit car traffic in and out of the developments to people who live there. With grids drivers take short-cuts through residential streets, often speeding as they are trying to beat traffic by cutting through these residential areas.

This Cul-de-sac development uses space much less efficiently then grids, but that's O.K. there's still some farmland left to build on.
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Old 05-02-02, 04:45 AM   #3
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You are talking about stree patterns in N America. In europe the streets radiate from the town centre, which creates massive traffic jams downtown, and has favoured the development of effective public transit systems.
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Old 05-02-02, 09:00 AM   #4
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I, too, like grids of streets. As I have mentioned before, I could always take advantage of the grid to find a safe, traffic-calmed route through west-central Los Angeles. I was often able to ride 25mi/40km, almost entirely on 25-30mph/40-50kph streets. In San Diego County, I generally have to use one of the higher-speed prime arterials to get from point A to point B. Although some of these have wide shoulders (with or without demarked bike lanes), some suffer from either narrow curb lanes or freeway-style fast-flowing diverges, turns, and merges.

A cul-de-sac can be OK, IF bicyclists and pedestrians are provided with a connecting through path. My brother-in-law just bought a house on one of two back-to-back culs-de-sac, and I immediately noticed a direct tree-canopied bike- and ped-friendly connection into the adjacent neighborhood. I have frequently taken advantage of a similar connection in my own neighborhood.
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Old 05-02-02, 02:13 PM   #5
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In the UK a lot of towns and cities date back hundreds or thousands of years. The street networks appear to be random and the streets themselves are very narrow. Cars can travel at about 10mph (if at all), mostly they were designed for horse and cart, or pedestrians.
These are perfect for cycling, apart from the cobbled stone surface which can be trecherous when wet.
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Old 05-02-02, 02:25 PM   #6
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I dont know about you Michael, but i find cobblestone quite painfull when dry.

Pete, have you seen the carfree website? Heres a great link on this thought process and city design: http://www.carfree.com/topology.html
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Old 05-02-02, 07:36 PM   #7
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Many people are fed up with the "loop," or "suburban sprawl" design. They are moving back into the older city neighborhoods by the droves, remodeling old houses and spending their money at nearby businesses. Major developers are investing huge sums building mixed-use properties that have houses, condos, apartments and shops all on the same property.

What will become of the "outposts" of suburban communities that
are far-flung from city centers? I suspect that the small towns they were built around may become epicenters of local commerce, patterned after the old-style neighborhoods that are coming back into style.

This is the kind of neighborhood I often ride through on my way home from work. One can live, work, shop and eat (even eat outdoors) within 2 miles from home, or from the center of Atlanta.
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