Anorak News | Roads To Nowhere

Roads To Nowhere

by | 12th, July 2006

MANUAL for Streets, the invaluable new pamphlet from the Government, has caught the eye of the Times.

This is no Nanny State guide to walking in streets, featuring cartoonish diagrams of Mr Blenkinsopp placing his left foot in front of his right and not, as is the correct way, his right before his left.

We will not see Mr Blenkinsopp see the red man on the Pelican Crossing, think it means “Go” and step out in front of the No. 73 omnibus. Nor will we see him walk in the road and drive his motor vehicle along the pavement.

This pamphlet will teach us the correct way to plan towns. It tells us that no new residential areas should feature cul-de-sacs.

As the guide says: “A dead-end road system of loops and lollipops has been the dominant layout of suburban housing developments for the last 30 years.”

And so it has. “It could be argued that most housing developments of this type lack any sense of coherent urban structure.”

Not sure what that means? Neither are we. But the Government and the WSP Group that helped create this document are clear.

Reading on: “Many suffer from layouts that make orientation difficult, create leftover and ill-defined spaces, have too many blank walls and facades and are inconvenient for pedestrians, cyclists and buses.”

And the problem is what? Surely these traits are what turn people on to cul-de-sac living. They enjoy living on the road to nowhere, free of buses, cyclists and passers-by.

What person while out taking the air sees a cul-de-sac and thinks that would be a good place to walk? Accidentally drive up one of those dead-ends and you can feel the eyes of locals boring into you. “Who’s that?” they ask in their shrill cul-de sac patois, peering down the sights of their sniper rifles and excitedly waggling their many toes.

But, of course, there is a health issue behind this drive to get us all living on regular blocks. Andrew Cameron, technical director of the aforesaid WSP Group, says research in the United States shows that people living in cul-de-sacs are fatter than those who live on ordinary roads. On average, a cul-de-sac dweller is 6lbs heavier than someone who lives on a straight street.

So there you are – cul-de-sacs make you fat. Say no to cul-de-sacs. And says yes to straight, decent and healthy streets…

Posted: 12th, July 2006 | In: Uncategorized Comment | TrackBack | Permalink