Where The Streets Are Wide And The Minds Are…*

This photo was shot from a cul-de-sac in a 1960s subdivision in Medfield. Think that street is wide enough?

For all you streetscape wonks, it measures 38 feet from curb-to-curb, with five foot sidewalks. In comparison, the standard low-density residential street in Seattle is 25 feet curb-to-curb (these are the streets on which it is impossible for two cars to pass each other when cars are parked on both sides of the street).

On this street in Medfield, only in some highly unusual circumstance would there be more cars parked on the street that what you see in the photo above, and in any case, most of the houses have driveways and garages that could hold four or five cars easily. And there is so little traffic that the meeting of two cars traveling in opposite directions is a very rare occurrence.

All that unneeded pavement is a perfect match for all the giant lawns. This is the built environment of a dying era.

*struggling to control my urban biases…

9 Responses to “Where The Streets Are Wide And The Minds Are…*”

  1. JesseJB

    Is the era over yet?

    Howbout now?



  2. Bob

    Yeah, but think how easily a firetruck can turn around!! *sigh*

  3. Oran

    Just in case the Soviets launch those missiles!

  4. SA

    sweet. you could get grand cherokee up to top speed on a street like that

  5. Matt the Engineer

    It was a great idea they had to leave room for bike lanes, sidewalks, and a light rail line. Once they convert all of those lawns to 8-story condos with retail on the ground level, this might be a nice place to live.

  6. Brian

    Bob: We get this argument, actually. I work for a mid-sized Bay Area city (100,000 people) with few tall buildings. Our big boy fire truck, the GRUMMAN (said with a reverant tone) means big streets.

    And…this is not a new thing. Our old town area, the original grid, has 48 foot wide streets! Most houses are small cottages and bungalows, generally one story in height. You can imagine that this streetscape feels achingly open and undefined. 36 foot streets are the new standard, but some of us staff in planning would love to see that reduced to 30 feet. The concept of waiting to pass (the 25 foot Seattle streets) would probably horrify our citizens, though. :)

  7. Matt the Engineer

    I’m a fairly recent transplant to Seattle from the SF Bay Area, and at first the wait-to-pass streets shocked me. But now that I’ve lived here for a while I love them. Nobody drives more than 15mph on a residential street under these conditions (especially with turning circles every other block), which makes the neighborhood feel much safer and quiet.

    Of course getting a moving truck in there is difficult, but possible. I would imagine navigating a fire truck would be tough but possible as well.

  8. uncletimmy

    longmeadow road

  9. uncletimmy

    I saw nancy martin break her leg on this hill on a go cart

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