The Business Insider has a compelling article about the street grid. For millennia we designed and developed the street grid as the most functional way to develop a place.
Emily Badger with City Lab confirms what we always suspected. While going to the suburbs for a “safer” life, people have actually been going to suburban communities composed of curving street plans that “ make us drive more, make us less safe, keep us disconnected from one another, and that may even make us less healthy”.
A key part of the 20th century Garden City movement and the development of the Radburn Plan for suburbs in North America was discarding the grid pattern and going for organic, round street shapes. Norman Garrick and Wesley Marshall started researching street network designs commencing with bikeable Davis California. Even though Davis has more than 16 per cent of the population biking to work, it also has the lowest traffic fatality rates in the USA. By looking at the data of over a quarter of a million crashes in 24 California cities over 11 years, these researchers discovered that “the safest cities had an element in common: They were all incorporated before 1930″. And they all had the grid pattern.
A lot of people feel that they want to live in a cul-de-sac, they feel like it’s a safer place to be,” Marshall says. “The reality is yes, you’re safer – if you never leave your cul-de-sac. But if you actually move around town like a normal person, your town as a whole is much more dangerous.”
The researchers also found out that people who live in curvilinear suburbs versus grid pattern suburb spend 18 per cent more time driving and have less contact with local shops and services. Grid cities have better connections for walking and biking, and with less car crashes, are safer.
Cul-de-sac roughly means bottom of the sack in French.Time to reorder and get back to the grid.