Heights street layout was / is original - post WW2. Wilcox Park area is original post WW1?. Those areas prove my point the grid system either straight streets or curvilinear can be laid out to discourage thru traffic.
Alger Heights was laid out in the 1930s-pre WW2. Wilcox Park was actually platted about 1888 and 1908. The lack of through streets there was probably more an anomaly due to the park than an intentional design--Carleton is a problem, though, and they should really cut if off at the knees. Still, even before WWII and the birth of sprawl they had the foresight to see that with the automobile, grid pattern streets were foolish. I don't disagree that quasi-grid streets can be laid out to discourage throughout traffic. Alger Heights is an example, as is Ottawa Hills, or almost anywhere else laid out after the horseless carriage took the world by storm. Precisely why I say allowing the grid to labor on in old neighborhoods is cruel punishment to the residents who are often forced to live there for lack of options. But once the houses are built, you can't really switch to curvilinear streets or reroute things, apart from making a few cul-de-sacs here and there. That's just the easier way, though, and has some apparent crime-prevention/traffic streamlining benefits. The "giant maze" route would work 90% as well.
and the schools are not just some of the best in the state, but beat the pants off any suburban school in the metropolitan area. ok that may be a bit of hyperbole, but there is no doubt that by any academic metric you can apply, city middle/high and the feeder schools equal or surpass any school from the suburbs.
Except that admission is far from guaranteed, and City High's success is achieved through enormous amounts of cherry picking. You get into City, you win the lottery, but that's sort of a problem, in my book. It might have prevented total flight in the 70s, but it cannot possibly act as a magnet. The scores are only marginally higher than FHN or EGR.
What is lost in all this discussion about cul-de-sacs and eliminating the grid is that people live in areas where they want to. people chose to live in the suburbs because they like it, and they like being around people who behave and think like them. people who live in the city generally have different priorities.
I disagree, although I suppose you might have the occasional hippie crank eating a granola bar who says "I love my busy, trafficky through street and the random criminally looking people walking through!"
Most of those who still live in the City live here for the obscenely cheap quality houses in some of the more expensive $150k+ areas, proximity to work, or simply because they cannot afford to live elsewhere.
the city of grand rapids has an entire department dedicated to traffic calming measures
unfortunately is not currently funded, which might be why this idea never gets a trial run.
Now that's just heartbreaking. Here is what this iniative at one time aspired to:Traffic Calming Goals include:
Traffic Calming Objectives include:
- increasing the quality of life;
- incorporating the preferences and requirements of the residents;
- creating safer and more attractive streets;
- reducing the negative impacts of motor vehicles; and
- promoting alternative transportation modes.
- achieving slower speeds for motor vehicles in residential areas;
- increasing safety for non-motorized users of the street system;
- enhancing the street environment;
- increasing access for all modes of transportation, and
- reducing/elminating cut-through motor vehicle traffic.
That the funding was axed for this instead of the myriad other worthless crap that the City wastes its money on is a good indicator of the massive level of dysfunction in City Hall. Granted, "traffic calming" doesn't have the same beneficial side effects as altering the street system itself to eliminate
through traffic, but it was at least a step in the right direction toward making neighborhoods more livable and safe.
Where housing is valued at a fraction of replacement cost, problems loom large. We cannot keep this going forever, or we risk becoming Detroit over the long haul. That frightens me, which I why I sometimes come up with these crazy ideas. In West MI we are not in a population dead zone, yet GR is becoming one. This is extremely
dangerous. If that means trying to cater to the suburb dwellers with a few reversible
changes if they don't work, I don't think think its the end of the day. Long run, the alternative is. Population shrinkage will ruin us, just like it has everywhere its been tried.
Edited by x99, 09 July 2012 - 11:16 PM.