Before congestion pricing, why Louis Kahn’s grand plan for Philly traffic failed

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A pedestrian threads his way through traffic at the intersection of Broad and Chestnut streets. (Emma Lee/WHYY)

A pedestrian threads his way through traffic at the intersection of Broad and Chestnut streets. (Emma Lee/WHYY)

Philadelphia has a traffic problem. And while more people are biking and walking, there are still lots of cars clogging downtown streets. Now, city officials are watching how New York City is tackling its traffic problem with a controversial congestion pricing plan. Few may remember that esteemed Philadelphia architect Louis ‘Lou’ Kahn first tried to cut down on traffic in the 1950s by creating a city design plan — but it got no traction. On this episode of The Why, Bill Whitaker, curator at the University of Pennsylvania’s School of Design, explains Kahn’s grand plan, and why future cities may take lessons from it.

You can view a map of Kahn’s traffic study here.

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