Monday, March 23, 2009

Cul de sac regulations implemented

One of the major obstacles to cycling in Northern Virginia is the lack of neighborhood street connections. Many of our streets end in cul-de-sacs, forcing traffic, including bicyclists, onto congested collector and arterial roads. The few bicycle-friendly places such as the Town of Vienna, Arlington, and Alexandria, have a grid of streets that provide many options for cyclists to find low volume, low speed roads that connect.

The State of Virginia wants that to change. According to the Post article In Va., Vision of Suburbia at a Crossroads: Targeting Cul-de-Sacs, Rules Now Require Through Streets in New Subdivisions:

The state has decided that all new subdivisions must have through streets linking them with neighboring subdivisions, schools and shopping areas. State officials say the new regulations will improve safety and accessibility and save money: No more single entrances and exits onto clogged secondary roads. Quicker responses by emergency vehicles. Lower road maintenance costs for governments.

Since most of Fairfax is already developed, the new regulations will have little effect here for a long time. However, the new regulations are a reflection of the desire of many people who want the option of riding their bike or walking to destinations that are physically very close but currently have no connections. We hope this bodes well for possibly connecting some of the existing cul-de-sacs.


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