Cul-de-sac facts for kids

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Cul-de-Sac cropped
A cul-de-sac in Sacramento, California

A cul-de-sac is a dead-end street with only one inlet/outlet and a turnaround area at its closed end. In modern urban planning culs-de-sac are created to limit through-traffic in residential areas. While some culs-de-sac provide no possible passage, others allow cyclists, pedestrians or other non-automotive traffic to pass.

Suburban culs-de-sac

Since the end of World War II, new subdivisions in America have made heavy use of the cul-de-sac. Typically, there is one or several central roads in the subdivision, with many culs-de-sac of varying length branching out from the main roads, to fill all of the land in the subdivision. There are only a few roads leading out of the subdivision onto major roads.

This is in contrast to early 20th century American urban planning which emphasized a grid layout, partially out of wide reliance on streetcars, and alleys.

The use of culs-de-sac reduces the amount of car traffic on residential streets within the subdivision, thus reducing noise and, some think, the potential for accidents. It also essentially eliminates non-motorized traffic and most through-traffic. This, in turn, is thought to decrease crime and increase desirability, because in most cases the people who traverse the cul-de-sac either live there or are guests of those who do.

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Cul-de-sac Facts for Kids. Kiddle Encyclopedia.