How City Streets Used To Work

It really wasn’t until the 1930s when city streets became the sole domain of cars: before then, people walked across city streets however they liked (though there was the risk of horse shit). I’ve wondered what it would be like if the jaywalking campaigns of the 1930s had failed, and pedestrians had the right of way on streets. Well, I need not wonder anymore! We have video from 1911 of New York City, including the Flatiron District, and it’s pretty amazing. People cross wherever they like, and parts of the street are blocked off, making it easier for pedestrians. Pretty amazing:

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4 Responses to How City Streets Used To Work

  1. Chrisj says:

    You don’t even need to look at the past, you just need to look outside the USA. In the UK, for example, a pedestrian in the road has right of way. There is no jaywalking (you can be arrested for “obstructing the highway” if you’re deliberately causing trouble, but that applies to footways and cyclepaths as well as roads); marked crossings are advisory rather than mandatory, and if there’s no sidewalk, then walking along the roadway is entirely legal.

  2. Bern says:

    Weird that I saw no bicycles in that film…

    See also this: https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/6/68/A_Trip_Down_Market_Street_%28High_Res%29.webm
    Streetcar run down Market Street in San Francisco.

  3. Notice it’s only rich people with cars.

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