Archived

This topic is now archived and is closed to further replies.

dubone

Charlotte Transportation Action Plan

Recommended Posts

The new urban street design guidelines are online now

http://www.charmeck.org/Departments/Transp...+Guidelines.htm

The docs deal with more than just uptown, but they are CDOTs plans for more aesthetic, multimodal (including peds and cycs) and urban.

It also gives charlotte's definitions for streets/avenues/boulevards... etc.

On Monday night the Charlotte City Council will be asked to adopt the city's Transporation Action Plan (TAP).

The TAP:

http://www.charmeck.org/NR/rdonlyres/e3ceh...5e/12120504.pdf

City Council agenda:

http://www.charmeck.org/Departments/City+C...+Agenda+TOC.htm

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites


South Charlotte will never be like Dilworth, which has a pure grid that is more intact than downtown's grid.

Connectivity policy, however, will go a LONG way to improving traffic on thoroughfares. We need to get beyond the old suburban way of thinking, where roads are designed to dead-end intentionally so that kids can play on streets. If children need play areas, they should be requesting more neighborhood parks.

Personally, I would advocate using gravel to pave streets that do not connect anywhere. That way, if you live on a culdesac, it would remain unpaved with asphalt.

Speeding through neighborhood streets is a major reason that people oppose connectivity. Part of the problem, is that there are so few that connect, that the ones that do are used by people trying to quickly bypass clogged thoroughfares. If streets connected all over the place, like in many older neighborhoods, there would be enough alternatives to keep thoroughfares unclogged.

It drives me nuts, though, how inconsistent Charlotte is on connectivity policy. Downtown is finally reconnecting Davidson Street to Stonewall. However, they are putting a median on Stonewall to prevent left turns, so that the street doesn't get used by many people. That is just craziness.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Speeding through neighborhood streets is a major reason that people oppose connectivity. Part of the problem, is that there are so few that connect, that the ones that do are used by people trying to quickly bypass clogged thoroughfares. If streets connected all over the place, like in many older neighborhoods, there would be enough alternatives to keep thoroughfares unclogged.

Another problem with suburban streets is that they are built so wide as to encourage speeding. In my urban, close-to-downtown neighborhood, which has narrower streets and on-street parking, speeding isn't much of a problem. In my parents' cul-de-sac 2-acre-minimum-lot neighborhood, I can comfortably drive 55 on the main road.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

That is a good point, for many wide streets, it feels like the natural speed limit is much higher. Nothing worse that getting a surprise speed hump on one of those streets. It feels like you should be driving the 'Genrull Lee' with a dixie horn when you jump one of those buggers.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I think that speed bumps are evil and should be a last resort when it comes to traffic calming.

Aside from speeding, though, I think that cul-de-sacs also make people feel safer--they don't have to worry as much about strangers driving through their territory. I think I remember reading somewhere that, all other things being equal, being on a cul-de-sac increases your home's value by a few percentage points.

I certainly hope the city can make things more interconnected, but it seems like it'll be tough to do.

By the way... is it pronounced "dub-one" or "du-bone"?

MOD EDIT: username discussion continued here: http://www.urbanplanet.org/forums/index.php?showtopic=19041

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I think that speed bumps are evil and should be a last resort when it comes to traffic calming.

Aside from speeding, though, I think that cul-de-sacs also make people feel safer--they don't have to worry as much about strangers driving through their territory. I think I remember reading somewhere that, all other things being equal, being on a cul-de-sac increases your home's value by a few percentage points.

I agree about speed bumps. They should be a last resort. There are other, more creative, less disruptive ways to prevent speeding.

On cul-de-sacs: the problem comes when people consider their street to be "their territory." For the most part, neighborhood streets are public rights-of-way maintained by the city. So the idea that one's street is actually one's private domain and should not be accessible to strangers is both selfish and incorrect. When a cul-de-sac is built, taxpayers are on the hook to maintain a driveway used by a very small number of people. Public money for street maintenence is scarce enough, and streets should be built such that maintaining them benefits as many people as possible.

If people want homes on secluded, property value boosting cul-de-sacs, then fine; but make the cul-de-sacs private streets maintained by the HOA and paid for by the residents. I don't like the idea that my tax money is going to maintain cul-de-sacs so that some homeowners can enjoy higher property values. It should not be public responsibility to maintain what really amounts to a driveway.

---

Regarding plans to undo the damage done by cul-de-sacs, if the city were to open up one additional through street in a subdivision, of course that one street would become overrun with cut-through traffic, and the people living on it get the short end of the stick. That problem goes away, however, if a grid pattern is created, because that disperses cut-through traffic over 5 or 10 different streets. but that's never going to happen because it would mean levelling the subdivisions and starting from scratch.

You're right, this is not a problem that will be solved easily.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

If people want homes on secluded, property value boosting cul-de-sacs, then fine; but make the cul-de-sacs private streets maintained by the HOA and paid for by the residents. I don't like the idea that my tax money is going to maintain cul-de-sacs so that some homeowners can enjoy higher property values. It should not be public responsibility to maintain what really amounts to a driveway.

I agree with everything you said about cul-de-sacs. Maybe they should just be reverted back to private ownership.

In many cases, I don't think it would be so much of a waste to plow down some vinyl boxes in the burbs to reconnect streets to be more of a grid. Maybe it would be a good way to stop people from buying in those kinds of neighborhoods in the first place.

It is hard enough during zoning battles to get two access points for some new projects. It would be political suicide, though, to push for anything close to good connectivity in older neighborhoods built to avoid it.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Here is a plan for 37 acre townhouse subdivision by Pulte. I think this is a pretty good example of what can be done, even though it does have a couple of cul-de-sacs.

Pulte Proposal

Now if they would only be required to have 30-50 sq. ft. of retail per housing unit, it would have the Atlrvr Stamp of Approval.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Here is a plan for 37 acre townhouse subdivision by Pulte. I think this is a pretty good example of what can be done, even though it does have a couple of cul-de-sacs.

Pulte Proposal

Now if they would only be required to have 30-50 sq. ft. of retail per housing unit, it would have the Atlrvr Stamp of Approval.

... the site plan is nice... seems to be well thought out - especially in a more dense urban area than where this project is located.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Yeah, good for them for doing multiple exit points. But they're still building their subdivision in the boonies with all of their people relying on a single thoroughfare, Ardrey Kell.

Granted, neighborhood retail would help, as that would eliminite much of the added short trips that require use of the thoroughfare system.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

True....but they did leave a stub that would in theory be connected to whatever gets built along 521.

As projects like this become the norm and the remaining parcels become developed, a quasi-grid will eventually begin to be formed.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Is it topography, or lack of political will 60 years ago that prevented cities like Charlotte from instituting an old-skool block grid across the whole city?

I'm not sure how places like KC do it, but you could be extremely far out in the burbs, and the streets are still gridded with 128th St, 129th St, 130th St, etc. They even label culdesacs with a numbered street, in anticipation that they could eventually be connected.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I would say both are factors.....but remember, KC and most large cities today were large cities at the start of the 20th century, and already had large grid systems, so for them, it's a no brainer to keep extending them.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

As long as the underlying connectivity is there, I agree that it doesn't matter as much whether they are perfect square grids. It does seem a little crazy to be in the middle of a rural area, and be on a numbered, gridded street.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I think I prefer numbers to some names, like Whispering Deer Ln. and Gurgling Brook Cir., and Imagine Your Wilderness Scene Here Dr.

It's true though about connectivity being more important than a true grid, as most of Dilworth (except the very older part) is on a 90 degree grid.

I also think there are ways to build parallel complimentary streets to main thouroghfares, that would appease everyone.....connectivity, high speed arterials, residential buffers, etc. The best example of this is Euclid Ave. and South Blvd....this is a model of good transportation planning in a car dependent city like Charlotte.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

But we wouldn't want people to actually take advantage of Euclid to get to the new Lowe's. we must force them to use the already over-burdened thoroughfare, South Blvd. :)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

The site plan you mention is standard suburban schlock. Multiple entry/exit points are nice, but they're not that uncommon. The problem is, there is no provision for a connection at the back side of the subdivision, just those two dead-end cul-de-sacs. At least there are no houses on the ends of the 'sacs so if the city wanted to get aggressive and force a connection then they could, but that's certainly not explicitly suggested in the plan.

This site plan has hardly any interconnection at all.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Is it topography, or lack of political will 60 years ago that prevented cities like Charlotte from instituting an old-skool block grid across the whole city?

I'm not sure how places like KC do it, but you could be extremely far out in the burbs, and the streets are still gridded with 128th St, 129th St, 130th St, etc. They even label culdesacs with a numbered street, in anticipation that they could eventually be connected.

That's a good question. I think it was the fact that first Myers Park was planned out relatively sprawly (compared to neighborhoods like Dilworth, Elizabeth, Plaza Midwood which had grid designs)... even though Myers Park did offer connectivity, the streets didn't (and still don't) have any rhyme and reason and then after that down Providence basically the rest of south Charlotte is pretty sprawly.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

The site plan you mention is standard suburban schlock. Multiple entry/exit points are nice, but they're not that uncommon. The problem is, there is no provision for a connection at the back side of the subdivision, just those two dead-end cul-de-sacs. At least there are no houses on the ends of the 'sacs so if the city wanted to get aggressive and force a connection then they could, but that's certainly not explicitly suggested in the plan.

This site plan has hardly any interconnection at all.

Wow.....if this is standard in Raleigh, then we are even worse off here than I thought. The two cul-de-sacs I believe abut already established areas with no provisions for future connections. They do stub one road that could provide future connection to a new development (and would be linked to a 2nd thoroughfare) and they are connecting to a stub in an existing neighborhood.

I still believe that if this type of site plan becomes the standard here, then we will finally began to develop a true road network. (again, i'm guessing there would be no cul-de-sacs if there was a way to connect in the back)

I don't know the people at Pulte, so I'm not sure how concerned they were about road connections, but this is a far cry better than their previous projects in Charlotte.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

One of the problems is caused by the broken road building policies in NC. Unfortunatly most of the major highways in the city are owned by the state and the counties are not allowed to build them. The NCDOT has little interest in local development concerns and is only concerned in building a road that meets their objectives, not those of local planners. This has been a major complaint of the Mayors in the towns to the North were what we are discussing here has already been on the books for almost 10 years.

Since the cities have little money for road building, then what happens is that roads in places like Charlotte are designed, and built by either the NCDOT or Developers. And like the NCDOT their objectives are different, which is mainly to make as much money as they can off the property. This has gotten worse over the last few decades, because most of the companies building houses in Charlotte now are national developers and they have no interest at all in the local community. They comply with local regulations but as minimally as possible. This is why you see so many sidewalks in Charlotte that simply go no where.

I think one of the key things that should happen is the NCDOT should be broken up and responsibility for road building be returned to the county government for local highways. (A smaller organization can remain for the Interstates, and other state wide issues) Second, the city governments are going to have to do a better job at putting in regulations and zoning that force the developers to build better subdivisions. They have already done this in Huntersville, but every year it is challenged greatly by the land owners and developers whom this affects, so there has to be a lot of political will to establish and maintain these kind of restrictions.

Charlotte is also very fortunate in that it is building a non-automobile based transit system. I hope there is the political will to stick to this plan and only approve new development where there are alternatives to the car, and stop the building of starter home development on 1/4 acre lots.

Opps I was still on the test ID for this. haha. This post was made by monsoon

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

The two cul-de-sacs I believe abut already established areas with no provisions for future connections.

That subdivision goes in here.

The cul-de-sacs will extend north-by-northwest from Ardrey Kell Road, parallel to 521. The satellite image might be old, but at least according to this map the area behind the 'sacs is completely undeveloped. Provision should be made to connect through to whatever subdivision gets built there. Any subdivision back there should have a collector street, probably one that intersects 521 across from the old alignment of Lancaster Highway. One or both of the cul-de-sac roads in this subdivision should connect through to that collector street.

Under the current Pulte design, there are a couple entry/exit points, but all traffic from the subdivision is still funneled onto Ardrey Kell Road. That ain't connectivity.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

  • Recently Browsing   0 members

    No registered users viewing this page.