Look, cars and people can comfortably share streets

I’ve written before about the idea of pedestrian malls, and how they sometimes don’t work. They’re a great idea, but sometimes streets need to be multi-modal, rather than cater to a single mode of transportation.

I saw a great example of this recently in Paris:

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This spot is a pleasant little square and roundabout near Rue Mouffetard. Pedestrians cross these streets whenever and where ever they want. It’s a safe, quiet and relaxed place.

But, clearly, cars also use this area. Due to the design of the space, the cars move slowly but efficiently and during several visits to the square I never saw any major conflicts between vehicles and pedestrians. A few visits isn’t conclusive of course, but the same thing probably couldn’t be said about most American streets.

What this shows, then, is that streets don’t have to be devoted entirely to one type of transportation. People and cars, in other words, get along just fine in well-designed spaces.

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