Idea: Cul-De-Grid, Another Alternative to Grids & Cul-De-Sacs

In my previous 2 posts [The Great Cul-De-Sac Problem] and [The Liquid Grid Street Layout] we discovered that people LOVE living in a cul-de-sac (dead end street). There’s no traffic on your street except locals, it’s just you and your neighbors, it feels safer, more hidden, more maze-like for strangers, and gives off a “cute little village where everyone knows each other” vibe that us white people of European ancestry subconsciously crave. We also discovered the downside. Cul-De-Sacs use up massive amounts of land, promote car use over walking and biking, create traffic bottlenecks, and while they do reward some neighbors with less traffic, they severely punish all other neighbors with heavier traffic and pollution.

Below is an example of an extreme cul-de-sac surrounded by typical cul-de-sacs with inefficient land usage and traffic planning. Terrible walkability, longer commutes, more bottlenecks, etc…

But there’s a reason for people liking their cul-de-sacs and I can’t blame ’em. Most people would rather live on a dead end private street than live right off a main road. So let’s just give the people what they want, with a few compromises.

Keep in mind; my mockups aren’t going to be perfectly accurate.

Here’s a traditional grid of houses:

They’re suppose to somewhat resemble the street layout used here in St. Louis only with everyone having a suburban sized backyard and without the back alleys.


View Larger Map

The grid street layout didn’t stop St. Louis’ devastating suburban sprawl for several reasons (which I’ve mentioned in those past 2 articles and will be discussing even more thoroughly in a future article) but most importantly because:

People. Like. Getting. Away. From. Other. People.

To live in the Suburbs means to live in a secret maze, far away from the city, away from massive amounts of people, on your own street, and to feel hidden. Human beings take comfort in getting away from it all because it translates to safety. More people more problems. With open ended streets like the ones used in Grid Layouts, it feels like everyone in the city has access to your home. Anyone could come by. But with a cul-de-sac it feels more intimate, yes you’re cornered, but it feels like the number of people that can see you or access you is substantially less. The only people that should enter your street are the neighbors you know and trust, and if a stranger’s car drove in you’d know immediately.

So I’d say the main attraction to Cul-De-Sacs are the intimate, dead end, quiet streets. Which I’ve replicated using a grid layout.

Notice how every blue private street has only 8 homes. Residents can walk or bike over a sidewalk connecting blue private streets, without allowing cars and through traffic. So your kids can play hockey and basketball in the street without worry because passerbys will only use the red city streets. There are several advantages to this for the city, and a few compromises for the home owners.

First the bad news:

  • It uses 5% more land than a traditional grid for the same amount of houses.
    • But uses no where near as much land as a cul-de-sac suburban layout.
  • It uses 25% more pavement than a traditional grid layout.
    • But fits a lot more people in less space with less driving than a cul-de-sac layout.
  • Home owners have a 99% increase in the pavement that they must maintain with their tax dollars assuming the dead end streets are turned into private streets that the city is no longer burdened with.
    • But the city’s burden for paving streets is less.

Now the good news:

  • The city’s burden of paving and maintaining streets will be 20% less. Instead those dead end streets can now be considered private streets/driveways and paid for by the locals who live on them. Which makes for a more fair taxation because the city isn’t paying for someone else’s lifestyle choice.
  • The residents are sure to love the more intimate feel and don’t have to move far away from the city in order to get it.
  • More residents can live and work in a smaller space compared to the cul-de-sac suburban layout.
  • Intimacy is created without wasting land the way cul-de-sacs do, yet the simple grid layout keeps traffic flowing by offering numerous ways around congestion or construction.
  • Neighborhoods are much more walkable compared to cul-de-sacs and encourage walking over driving as sidewalks will connect disconnected blue private streets.

So what do you think? I’d LOVE to live in a cul-de-grid, and like the idea a lot better than the Liquid Grid Layout I posted a while back [http://www.chrisnorstrom.com/2011/10/invention-the-liquid-grid-street-layout-a-replacement-for-cul-de-sacs-block-grids/]. Which a commenter has told me has long existed already.

If you find a real world example of a cul-de-grid please let me know in the comments.

172 Comments

  1. King Eric says:

    Ingenious solution, the cul-de-grid is truly the future

  2. Zach says:

    It’s called a pipestem—http://www.waze.com/forum/viewtopic.php?f=8&t=8970

  3. Stephen Ó Bróithe says:

    Who would be responsible for servicing the “private driveways” in blue if there are road problems? Would the residents of that street be responsible?

    Moreover, this likely wouldn’t be possible in jurisdictions with snowfall because the City would need to plow the “private” driveways or the group of families living there would need to be well organized (which is a little idealistic, unfortunately).

    • No it’s just paid for by their taxes. We have a street that was turned into a private street by those living on it. They had it closed off at the end. They still get it maintained they just have to pay for it.

  4. moxiwize says:

    Ok infuriatingly I already typed this and when I tried to post it disappeared, so trying again.

    I was wondering, after having read this and your other stuff on the same subject, what your opinion was of having alleyways, pedestrian access or bikepaths, either behind the backyards or between the houses. Also about having shared public space, like parks and playgrounds linking cul-de-sacs. I have lived in a few places (mostly in Australia) where there have been such accessways, often leading to schools or local shops. My thoughts are that they could foster a positive neighbourhood and community feeling that many people seek, as well as decreasing the desire and reliance on car use (with all the associated negatives of such).

    • Oh I fully support them. They encourage walking over driving. When the straighter line from point a to b is a walkway over a street, it’ll encourage people to walk.

  5. FaceFirst says:

    Some great work here but you are missing a layer of information about the routes you are creating; namely that ‘good’ routes have build fronts addressing them. Your model is similar to the hierarchy of streets you see in the UK, where main routes are pretty dull for pedestrians. You need to have active frontage. And no, lacing a network of pedestrian routes through an otherwise disconnected layout doesn’t encourage people to walk, as the quality and safety of these routes is poor due to the lack of active frontage.

  6. Major thankies for the blog.Really looking forward to read more. Will read on…

  7. Very good post.Really looking forward to read more. Really Great.

  8. Great, thanks for sharing this article post.Much thanks again. Keep writing.

  9. Thanks again for the blog article. Awesome.

  10. firmware says:

    I really like and appreciate your blog post. Awesome.

  11. Thanks again for the article post.Thanks Again. Great.

  12. Thanks a lot for the post.Thanks Again. Much obliged.

  13. Im obliged for the blog article.Much thanks again. Want more.

  14. Muchos Gracias for your blog.Much thanks again.

  15. I have read so many articles about the blogger lovers
    however this article is really a pleasant piece of writing, keep it
    up.

  16. Really appreciate you sharing this article post.Much thanks again. Want more.

  17. Hey, thanks for the article post.Much thanks again. Great.

  18. Pretty! This was an incredibly wonderful article. Thank you
    for providing this info.

  19. Muchos Gracias for your article post. Great.

  20. You are so interesting! I do not suppose I have read anything like that before.
    So good to find somebody with a few genuine thoughts on this topic.
    Seriously.. many thanks for starting this up. This site
    is one thing that is needed on the internet, someone with
    some originality!

  21. Hey there! I know this is kinda off topic but I was wondering if you knew where I could get a captcha plugin for my comment form?
    I’m using the same blog platform as yours and I’m having trouble finding one?

    Thanks a lot!

  22. Very informative article post.Much thanks again. Awesome.

  23. I know ɑ sport we will play hat is like Daddy is talking about.?
    Mommy mеntioned making each boys need to know tһe game a lot.

    ?It?s referred to as ?Whhat is the beѕt thinbg about God.
    And everdy of us has to giove you one actually reat thing we
    like about God. Ꮤho needѕ to goo first??
    Leе and Ꮮarry jjumped and shoսted ?ME
    ME!? waving their arms within tһe air like they d᧐ at ѕchooⅼ.
    Lastly, Mommy statеd, ?Well Lee, sіnce youre two minutes older than Larrʏ, you may g᧐ first.

  24. A round of applause for your blog. Will read on…

  25. I think this is a real great blog article.Much thanks again. Really Great.

  26. Major thankies for the post.Really looking forward to read more. Cool.

  27. Very informative article.Really thank you! Awesome.

  28. all watch says:

    Thanks for the article post.

  29. Great article. I’m going through some of these issues
    as well..

  30. Wow, this article is pleasant, my sister is analyzing
    such things, therefore I am going to let know her.

  31. Thanks for the blog post. Fantastic.

  32. dafabet says:

    Really informative blog article.Thanks Again.

  33. Thank you for your blog post.Thanks Again.

  34. you are really a just right webmaster. The web
    site loading velocity is incredible. It sort of feels that you are doing any distinctive
    trick. Also, The contents are masterwork. you’ve done a excellent job on this subject!

  35. “My brother recommended I might like this web site. He was totally right. This post truly made my day. You can not imagine simply how much time I had spent for this info! Thanks!”

  36. Enjoyed every bit of your blog article.Really looking forward to read more. Want more.

  37. Really informative article post.Really looking forward to read more. Want more.

  38. “I am genuinely delighted to read this webpage posts which includes lots of valuable information, thanks for providing these statistics.”

  39. I truly appreciate this blog.Much thanks again. Will read on…

  40. I cannot thank you enough for the blog post.Much thanks again. Will read on…

  41. “Woah! I’m really digging the template/theme of this site. It’s simple, yet effective. A lot of times it’s very difficult to get that perfect balance” between usability and visual appearance. I must say you’ve done a awesome job with this. Also, the blog loads very fast for me on Internet explorer. Exceptional Blog!””

  42. abc says:

    You really make it seem so easy together with your presentation however I to find this matter to be actually one thing which I feel I’d never understand.

    It kind of feels too complex and extremely vast for me.

    I am having a look ahead for your subsequent publish, I will attempt to
    get the grasp of it!

  43. w88.com says:

    There is a rich diversity to these songs that you are bound to appreciate and also to build your life easier, and also to make it easier
    to get the music activity for My – Space that you want, you also have a chance to choose from different genres.

    Warrior bands moved south and east towards the rich pickings with the peoples whom that they traded with.
    The plastic’s name is usually abbreviated to CR-39, standing for Columbia Resin, in fact it is fewer than half the weight of glass,
    which supplanted quartz inside early twentieth century.

  44. gai xinh says:

    The camera may make the brightest of scenes resemble it absolutely was taken during an eclipse.
    These guides let you practice when you are and also have the time to
    do so. Instead of enjoying karaoke parties, you can always consider the music and
    make your personal song, by plugging it into your TV sets.

  45. Hwa says:

    Ignatius Piazza, the Millionaire Patriot, wants
    you to see essentially the most awe inspiring reality
    show series ever, called Front Sight Challenge.
    They will shun jobs where there is no profit to town involved.
    Now you’ve taken that all-important starting point and they are looking
    over this report about games and social networking,
    you happen to be inside unique and privideged position to be amongst a gaggle of pioneering entreprenuers who may
    have learned concerning this and so are taking affirmative
    action.

  46. Many of these shows are located in bigger cities like New York or Los Angeles, which means you arrive at travel for free if you achieve in to the finals.
    You don’t have to purchase the largest or heaviest tripod web hosting
    use. This can be very advantageous for your requirements because if you’re a fast learner, with
    just a trial, you could learn all you wanted to simply and
    free.

  47. m88cvf says:

    Free PC options to Recycle and Phatmatik Pro:Loopdrive3 VSTABS.

    “Because you might be here scanning this flash games report now as of this particular point in time; that which you have is “The first movers advantage” on your own to adopt a their hands on now. These art reproductions of paintings printed on canvas sheets or paper and after that framed and hung on walls.

  48. Many of these shows are operating out of bigger cities like
    New York or Los Angeles, and that means you arrive at travel for
    free if you achieve in to the finals. A model with 3 CCD includes
    a sensor that accumulates every one of the different colors (Red, Green, and Blue) leading
    to superior color reproduction. You need a special connector typically called a Fire
    wire or sometimes known as an IEEE 1394 high band connector.

  49. “My brother recommended I might like this web site. He was entirely right. This post truly made my day. You cann’t imagine simply how much time I had spent for this information! Thanks!”

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *