Page:Old Towns and New Needs.djvu/37

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17
OLD TOWNS AND NEW NEEDS

apparent. (1) Street improvement for the facilitation of increased traffic, and (2) the provision of open spaces.

Overcrowded streets are the commonest affliction of the city which has grown big in growing old. The remedy which occurs most readily to the mind of a corporation is widening, and it is generally to the widening process that they apply their attentions. It is a slow job at best, for it can only be effected by the gradual diminution of the sites which line the thoroughfare affected. It is always very costly, and it may be ruthlessly destructive of architectural beauty.

I venture to state that the town-planner consulted by a corporation will always, before sanctioning a widening, consider one or two important alternatives. In the first place, it is a fact that there are many streets in which the obstruction is brought about by causes altogether other than narrowness. Constantly it is due to cross traffic from side streets. In some cases, where they are of importance, it will generally be better boldly to face the possibility of forming a viaduct so that one road may pass over the other. Indeed there are places in our larger towns where the wideness of the main thoroughfare is a positive inducement to blocks caused solely by the meeting at right angles of large concourses of vehicles. The congestion and the waste of time, brought about at large centres of cross-traffic by the waiting of east and west for north and south and the returning of the compliment which goes on all day long, is enormous. The simplest device for its cure is the "over-and-under" or viaduct crossing. This of course can seldom be applied as