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Between the commercial arteries, residential streets can have relatively little traffic yet be conveniently located near commerce.
In many situations, strip or ribbon development does cause problems, but the reason is poor planning.
They say that they lengthen commuting distances, and, in general, that they harm the environment.
Low-density developments do take up space and may increase driving time.
The empty parcels that have been “leapfrogged” create an ideal location for commercial activity.
It is a fact of economic life that developers are reluctant to place new commercial buildings on the outskirts of an urban area because these areas lack a large market to draw shoppers from.Some people decide to accept longer commutes in exchange for more comfortable, lower-priced housing.What few people realize is that leapfrog development nurtures compact commercial development-retail stores, offices, and businesses.Strip or ribbon development, the second category, takes place when extensive commercial development occurs in a linear pattern along both sides of major arterial roadways.Like other aspects of urban sprawl, it is viewed as ugly and as a cause of traffic congestion, since shoppers and workers are often entering into and exiting from the street. It brings together businesses that depend on high auto traffic.Every business fifty feet from another business does not have to have a driveway opening onto a major thoroughfare, creating congestion as people enter and leave.Access lanes can be built to permit the smooth merging of traffic entering and leaving. If the rightof- way is wide enough, landscaped buffers can separate the road from the businesses.In fact, strips reduce overall traffic, since fewer cars must travel long distances from store to store or office to office.Strip development also creates natural locations for residential development.While every city has apartments available for those who prefer them, many people choose (and more people aspire to have) their own detached homes. Yards filled with trees and shrubs absorb dust and chemicals, so smaller amounts of pollutants escape into the air and water.In contrast, in dense urban areas buildings, roads, and parking lots take up a higher percentage of the land, leaving little of the natural environment to absorb pollutants.