I grew up in a Chicago suburb that was developed pre-automobile. That meant the streets were narrow and cars could only be parked on one side of the street. And it meant a cozier more friendly neighborhood than the super wide streets that I saw when I moved to the Bay Area; I remember being shocked and awed by how far away the other side of the street looked.
I’m psyched about the Car-Free Days, where streets are being blocked off for part of a day, in cities around the world. Ciclovia in Bogotá, Colombia seems to be the model. Watch a video of it here. In Tokyo, I used to enjoy the hokousha tengoku (Walkers’ Heaven) car-free afternoons on the main street in Ginza.
New York City had theirs last weekend (August 9). Watch the happy people cycling and strolling and enjoying the slow pace: http://streetfilms.org/archives/summer-streets-2008-nyc/
And we get ours in San Francisco, on Sunday, August 31 and again on Sunday, September 14, 9am – 1pm. http://www.sundaystreetssf.com/
By the way, I’d like them to be called People Street Days.