Small street love letter

In a recent Metropolis Point of View blog post, Juliet Whelan writes a delightful defense of Philly’s Trinity houses and of the tiny streets they front. Even if you wouldn’t want to live in a Trinity, the intimate streets that many of them are clustered on are among our city’s loveliest. Whelan writes: Trinities cluster together on quaint little streets, just one cart wide with narrow sidewalks. At first glance, the streets appear to be alleys, but unlike alleys the tiny streets provide front door access to the houses that flank them. When you turn onto a Trinity Street, you leave the gritty, car honking city behind and enter fairytale land – quiet and tranquil, with a slight breeze rustling the leaves and sun sparkling on floating pollen; no cars and few pedestrians mar the peace. The sidewalks, wide enough for only one person, encourage pedestrians to spill off and claim the asphalt as their own. Whelan thinks there are important lessons for planners to learn from the shared, slowed function of our city’s small streets. These streets function as pedestrian-friendly areas without prohibiting car use. Mixed into the city’s major grid, this set of minor streets create human scale public spaces without mandating separate uses for cars, pedestrians, or bikes. Whelan continues: The beauty of Trinity Streets is that they don’t eliminate cars – they castrate them. They provide quiet pedestrian areas slammed against bustling urban zones. Quiet and Loud separated but near. Perfect. Read her whole post here: My Own Piece of Dirt, Metropolis P/O/V

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