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Virginia Bans Cul de Sacs!

Cul de sac neighborhoood vs. connected grid
Image by The Congress for the New Urbanism

OK, they’re not banned outright, but the new VDOT Secondary Street Acceptance Requirements strongly discourage new cul de sacs in Virginia.

Cul de sac neighborhoods are themselves the greatest obstacle to biking and walking.  Nearby destinations are a “can’t get there from here” proposition:   every trip involves  busy arterial roads, usually with no bike lanes, shoulders, or sidewalks.

Sunday’s Washington Post highlighted the cul de sac problem, as did Ken Benfield at NRDC, LA StreetsBlog, and Fairfax Advocates for Better Bicycling.

Where cul de sacs already exist, cut-throughs can make neighborhoods a lot more bike and pedestrian friendly. We can push for these in our own communities.

But most importantly, we need to make sure that our builders, and our local governments, know that cul de sacs are no longer allowed.

Please share this article, and link to this material, to help spread the word about Virginia’s cul de sac policies.

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2 comments… add one
  • Unfortunately this policy doesn’t apply to the independent cities. Cul-de-sacs are a significant bike-ped concern here in Hampton Roads. In Va Beach, the city’s development policy requires street connections between adjacent subdivisions for public safety reasons. However, under pressure from builders and civic leagues this requirement is frequently waived by city council, over the objection of the police and fire depts. We should at least hold the line on requiring a bike-ped cut-through or path. Though not obligated, the cities should follow VDOT’s lead on this.

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