Archive for Thursday, August 28, 2003

Commission seeks limit on future cul-de-sacs

August 28, 2003


Cul-de-sacs could be the latest casualty in the Lawrence City Commission's continuing efforts to strengthen the city's neighborhoods.

At their quarterly goal-review session Wednesday, commissioners asked city staff to consider alternatives to cul-de-sacs when new subdivision regulations are rewritten early next year. The commissioners want planners and developers to keep an eye toward creating new residential developments with more linear streetscapes, encouraging neighbors to come into more frequent contact with one another.

"In terms of planned growth ... that's the direction we're going," Mayor David Dunfield said.

"They certainly are inconsistent with the traditional 'front porch' idea of a neighborhood," Commissioner David Schauner said.

Linda Finger, director of the Lawrence-Douglas County Planning Office, warned that there might be opposition to such a plan, in part because of their ability to stop cut-through traffic in neighborhoods.

"This community is very sold on cul-de-sacs," Finger said. "The negative impacts of traditional street patterns can be mitigated."

Commissioners also suggested that new zoning regulations include the mandated involvement of established neighborhood associations in the planning stages of housing developments. It's a decision Dunfield hoped would help ease the tension between developers and residents in the city's growing areas.

"The main practical effect will be to increase communication," Dunfield said. "Developers don't want to be set off down a path ... and then find a roadblock."

Not all of the goals espoused Wednesday were focused on neighborhood development.

Commissioners asked the Waste Reduction and Recycling Board to look at new laws requiring energy conservation measures in new buildings, and they talked about creating more bicycle and pedestrian paths.

"We want motor vehicle (drivers) to know bikes are welcome anywhere," Dunfield said.

The city's next goals review session is planned for November.

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