Culdesac Tempe: Designed for Everyone
Designing a place is an act of balance. When designing Culdesac Tempe, we deliberately incorporated a myriad of elements to make our streets great places. How can we design streets that are car-free but also allow for fast EMS response? What materials will enable equitable access while also remaining visually appealing? How do we respond to the climate where we’re building? These are all questions we faced, and we responded with a multi-functional built environment.
Car-free, congestion-free, conflict-free
One of our favorite features of any street is being car-free. A true car-free street is safer, quieter, has cleaner air, and enables all to walk, roll, and move. Eliminating congestion makes these streets far more comfortable. But it also provides a place where emergency vehicles can gain access without delay. Traffic is one of the factors that can slow down emergency vehicles. By going car-free, a street can be more peaceful and safer for everyone.
Wide enough for EMS, narrow enough for pedestrians
Quick and easy access to emergency services (EMS) is something that we have planned for since the inception of Culdesac Tempe. Our main paseo is one of our arterial streets. It’s also been designed to be wide enough to support EMS vehicles. It varies between 35 and 45 feet wide, slightly wider than the 28 feet that are required for aerial apparatus fire access. This slight increase in width allows for trees and detailed building frontages. This balance also permits the street to be both accessible to EMS and pleasant to walk through, with great visual interest for pedestrians.
Beautiful and durable
The pavers we have selected are not only more durable than asphalt but far more beautiful as well. Visual interest in street materials often has downsides - cobblestone may look nice but can be tremendously challenging to walk and roll on, making its interest come at a high cost. We selected our pavers because they are both beautiful and lay flush, making them just as easy to walk and roll on as any level surface. Their durability also means they can support the weight of anything that rolls on them, such as people or EMS vehicles.
The correct materials
We are lucky to have over 300 days of sunshine per year here in Arizona. When it does rain, though, it’s essential that the water can make it back into the ground. However, asphalt does not allow any water to run through it, which contributes to the depletion of aquifers and increases flooding. Our selection of pavers, not asphalt, means water can be absorbed. An added benefit of pavers is that they also lower temperatures in times of sunshine. Asphalt has a solar reflectance index (SRI) value of less than 10% whereas pavers have an SRI of 30-40%. The higher the SRI, the cooler and more sustainable the environment. Pavers are a material we love that’s better for both the environment and people.
We took care to design these streets to be great for everyone. They are visually appealing, safer, allow for easy EMS access, utilize materials more durable than asphalt, and are better for the environment. A great neighborhood is made up of many details, and we’ve left no paver unturned. We’ve selected and built out of materials that make a place much more than the sum of its parts. It’s what allows us to build a better neighborhood.