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Monday
Jun192006

Deadly cul-de-sacs

Cul-de-sacs may remain popular with homebuyers, but increasingly design professionals are aware of their physical and social dangers. 

According to researcher William Lucy, as reported by NPR: "Lucy says cul-de-sac communities turn out to have some of the highest rates of traffic accidents involving young children.

"'The actual research about injuries and deaths to small children under five is that the main cause of death is being backed over, not being driven over forward,' he says. 'And it would be expected that the main people doing the backing over would in fact be family members, usually the parents.'"  (1)

Charlotte, Portland, and Austin have effectively banned cul-de-sacs.  At present, buyers, however, will typically pay a 20% premium for a cul-de-sac location.

(1) Read the full article from NPR: http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=5455743

From other lectures I have heard on the subject, it would seem that street width is the best determinant of traffic-accident safety.  Narrow streets cause slower speeds, which cause fewer deadly injuries.  As for the other perceptions of safety, I have also heard it said that you are less likely to die in a "dangerous" urban neighborhood than on a cul-de-sac.  (I'll need to add some legitimate sources for that, though.)

 

 

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