Fearful Symmetries

Witness a machine turn coffee into pointless ramblings...

21 August, 2012

The Automobile Takes Over the Street

Dane101 noted today that the Madison Area Bus Advocates now have a monthly column at Madison Commons. The inaugural entry is here. If you're not familiar with them, do check out their website.

As I was reading the column, I recalled an interesting bit of transportation lore that I found a few weeks ago. The 20th Congress for the New Urbanism was held back in May and there was a lecture given there that described how the streets were transformed from areas "owned" by pedestrians to being the domain of automobiles. As cars became popular, children started getting killed much more often. Prior to the advent of the car, streets were primarily pedestrian areas. Kids played in the street, for example. In his lecture, Peter Norton, an assistant professor at the University of Virginia, describes how cars took over the streets and how that process was very deliberate on the part of people promoting automobiles. Once upon a time there were no crosswalks and no jaywalkers because the streets were considered to be for pedestrians with cars being the intruders.

His lecture was called "Why Did We Stop Walking & How Do We Start Again?" and it's available on YouTube. For a summary of his ideas, go here. The lecture is based on his book Fighting Traffic: The Dawn of the Motor Age in the American City.

|| Palmer, 4:36 PM


its too good
Blogger Unknown, at 8:04 AM  

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