Ken Sides and Rick Geller write about the benefits of roundabouts, and especially a case study in downtown Sarasota, FL. Here's something I wrote about roundabouts here. Ken and Rick make a great case for roundabouts generally, but I think under-emphasize the most important point. Namely, that because the roundabout works so well in handling intersection traffic, Main Street in Sarasota didn't need additional lanes even by conservative engineering standards. That's hugely important for cities, since narrower streets mean a better pedestrian environment. Too often we focus on the roundabout itself, and not the positive downstream effects.
A new site has a very interesting set of graphics to show "a history of your neighborhood." Put out by Community Builders, the parallax presentations are pretty fun to browse through. And, it gives a very good, concise history of suburban sprawl with an emphasis on the western US. As I read the site, the only pushback I'd offer is that too often we emphasize the technical side of what changed and not the cultural. For example, the codes and regulations that sprung forth didn't do so in a vacuum. Those were developed because the public generally wanted and supported them. The reasons why are legion, but they existed nonetheless. It's important for us to be honest with the reality that a great deal of people, perhaps the majority, really liked and wanted suburban sprawl throughout much of the 20th century. Fortunately, that's changing.
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