this is the proper spelling of the plural.
Virginia’s DOT recently changed the rules for developers building new neighborhoods.
They don’t want any more culs de sac.
They say culs de sac generate traffic bottlenecks and make it difficult for the state to maintain roads, and for emergency vehicles to access neighborhoods.
Maybe they do.
But traffic bottlenecks can be engineered around. And no-public-use alleys can be built to make access for emergency vehicles and state maintenance vehicles easier.
What strikes me as interesting is the failure to consider decreases in real estate tax revenues.
If houses on culs de sac are desirable, they sell for more. They also make more efficient use of land. So, there are more houses, and each house is more valuable than if built on through-streets.
Then the tax revenues from these houses will be higher!
So, why not just use some of these tax revenues to fix the bottlenecking problems around culs de sac?
Because roads are not maintained out of real estate revenues, but out of gas taxes, and vehicle registration fees, etc.
The VDOT has been told by the state senate that they must decrease their budget. So, they decide not to maintain culs de sac. I wonder whether the boys who have to budget schools and fire departments and whatever else real-estate taxes are supposed to fund have figured this out yet?
I know developers have figured out how it will impact them ,and they are not happy. Lots of plans will have to be changed, or prices for homes lowered.
Now, for a twist, this all might be a good thing. HOAs will now have to maintain local cul de sac roads. Fees will rise. I doubt the cul de sac will go extinct. Prices for homes may go down, and earn a lesser premium for developers (lost surplus) but at a net gain to the taxpayer as the home owners will be paying for their own roads. This may expand to even more local ownership of roads, and perhaps someday, and end to state maintenance and state roads altogether.
Now, the privilege of state maintenance afforded to some and not to others disturbs me, but if we can eliminate the privilege altogether I would be more satisfied than if we were to extend it to all.
Anyway, there’s more to this story, and I intend to dig some of it up for a policy paper. If you know someone interested in publishing this research I’d love to know about it.
Finally, the bureaucratic position of the VDOT may the passage of this new rule almost completely invulnerable to feedback. A half-dozen dudes in a room made the decision all by themselves.