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People Streets

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John Greenfield assesses the historical problems of transit-pedestrian malls for NewCity. The focus is State Street, where pedestrianized stretches have been extinct for 17 years. State Street's problems were threefold: too much competition b/w buses and people; extraordinarily tacky '70s design; and, businesses of narrow appeal (adult bookstores, seedy movie houses, discount stores). Seven department stores closed during the ped mall's 17-year reign. Conclusion: if the city wants to implement ped zones again— it does, they're called "people streets"—it should target smaller east-west streets and banish all vehicular traffic for a true European (or Boulder, CO) experience. [NewCity, previously, photo: William C. Brubaker/UIC Collections]