*Names in bold indicate Presenter
A myth in local street regulation is that many standards only apply to public streets. In private communities (e.g., common interest developments) that own their streets, streets can often be built narrower and/or without street parking. In a prior survey of public officials nationwide, many have indicated their cities have different standards for private streets, but few could offer a convincing reason why private streets should be narrower. Much of the justification they provided for street standards – traffic safety and capacity, emergency vehicles, and extra parking – applies to private communities as well. Do residents in private communities have lower demand for street and parking space? Or are developers acting in their own interests since homebuyers cannot vote for their desirable street width at the time of construction?
What is the implication of such double standards? If, as engineers expected, the minimum street width and street parking requirements secure safety and provide amenity for local residents, those living in private communities are hence deprived of these benefits. If the standards are excessive and burdensome, however, private developments could have avoided the welfare loss from inefficient regulations.
The present study explores this myth through a survey of land developers who develop residential subdivisions and construct local streets in major cities. The objective is to understand 1) to what extent local street standards impose burden on developers and/or homebuyers, 2) how local street standards are associated with density or land use efficiency, and 3) whether private developments are more cost efficient due to the lesser standards. The paper will provide first-handed insight into the implementation and consequences of local street regulations in subdivision development process. It will also examine the potential of private developments as experiment of more flexible, effective design features.