Growing up, I lived on a cul-de-sac. Those are the best streets for playing. No worry of cars speeding through. Only the people who lived there and the occasional lost driver entered.

Understanding the impact of cul-de-sacs requires a quick review of the concept of permeability — how urban form can permit or restrict movement between places. While a “permeable” neighborhood will offer the walker, biker or vehicle a number of options for getting from A to B, in a cul-de-sac layout the kind of distance that should make a short walk often means a lengthy circumnavigation through a tangle of roads.

Lucy Wallwork, Urban Design Gone Wrong: Cul-de-Sacs

Weekends and summertime, we’d play late into the evening, breaking only for dinner. We were allowed to ride our bikes to the edge of the street and back. All the neighbours knew and interacted with each other and supported each other when needed.

I remember going to my friend’s house situated at the top, almost center of the circle. (For all you geometry experts, I know a cul-de-sac isn’t a complete circle, so shut up). We could see the entire street from her bedroom. My house was the first one turning into the street, on the north-east corner – very different views of our micro-community.

I always dreamed of buying a house on a cul-de-sac – living out that idyllic dream with my own family. Apparently, the very thing I thought a cul-de-sac represented, safety, is a myth.

“… In recent years, the cul-de-sac has fallen out of favor with urban planners and architects. Some cities have even banned them … cul-de-sac communities turn out to have some of the highest rates of traffic accidents involving young children.”

John Nielsen, Cul-de-Sacs: Suburban Dream or Dead End?

A dream shattered. I was about to Google, what are the safest streets to play on. Then I realized, duh! You shouldn’t be playing on the streets.

2 thoughts on “Street

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  1. When I was younger, I wanted the same thing – to be living on a cul-de-sac! Lots of great memories playing out there though. Thanks for sharing your experience! It was a nice read 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

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