Letting The Streets Run Wild

Wayne Curtis believes that pedestrian-friendly roads are making a comeback:

The saint of modern pedestrian revival is the late Hans Monderman. Faced with a small budget and a request that he make streets safer in part of a Dutch village called Oudehaske, Monderman did the unthinkable: He removed curbs and signs and let cars, bikes and pedestrians come together and sort it out on their own.

It worked: The more nuanced environment slowed down drivers, and the intermingling demanded communication using body language and eye contact. Accidents decreased, traffic moved steadily. The concept — called “naked streets” or “shared space” — has been expanding across Europe, and is slowly, tentatively, making its way to American shores. It’s like 1910 all over again.