Erin Mills ~ Planning the Road System
Erin Mills is the largest community within the city of Mississauga, Ontario. It provides home to over 100,000 residents. It started out in the 1960's as Canada's largest planned community. Don Mills was first, and then its developers took on Erin Mills as their next project.
Cadillac Fairview Corporation developed a plan which it had used once before and was now ready to incorporate some improvements.
The basic planning principle was that the community would be people friendly. It would adapt itself to the local environment. Natural watercourses would be left in place. Community walkways would follow the natural watercourses. Walkways would provide pedestrian access from one street to another. Vehicular traffic would be discouraged. It would be easy to play hockey on the streets. Only the neighbours would pass by in a car. Anybody else would be "lost". That's what they wanted for Erin Mills.
So, how did they plan to do this? Simple; they constructed circles within squares!
That was the basic planning technique for the roads. The outside square would be the main arterial roads. They would be a little larger than usual to bear the volume of traffic. Inside, there would be a large circle or ring road. In Erin Mills, the first road like that, was called "Council Ring Road". In essence, it was a road to nowhere. If you got on it, you later ended up in the same place where you first started out. That's annoying, so you have to get off it, as soon as possible.
On the inside of the circle or ring road were a series of smaller loops, or crescents. Same principle, but this time they were really half circles. They bring you around to the same ring road you were just on. Again, annoying. Just off the crescents were cul-de-sacs. They were simply dead ends, so you had to turn around and head back. Knowing that this would effect a number of people, turning circles were included at the bottom of the cul-de-sacs. And, that was the basic planning design:
· Square arterial roads surrounding the community
· Large circle roadway within
· Crescents, or half circles
· Dead end cul-de-sacs with turning circles
Now, you have to admit that the cul-de-sacs were perfect for street hockey, and rarely did anyone have to yell "car".
The purpose of the vehicular unfriendly neighbourhoods was to cut down on traffic, and make sure that no one used the neighbourhood internal streets as short cuts, as they do in many older neighbourhoods. The solution there is traffic barriers in the form of speed bumps which annoy everyone.
But, not in Erin Mills, those streets go nowhere. You will just get taken into the maze, waste time, and eventually get spit out in the same spot where you entered.
That type of road design has been adopted throughout North America as a basic pattern for safe neighbourhoods.
While the Erin Mills road system is unfriendly to strangers, the residents love it. All the streets are quiet streets. Nobody is rushing through to get somewhere quick!
Brian Madigan LL.B., Broker