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I am currently working on a thread showing the little alleyways of New Castle, Delaware. After walking the streets of this colonial city, and then looking at a thread with pictures of some of Pittsburgh's hilly neighborhoods with quirky streets, I got curious as to if cities across the country have streets that are walkable only. They are usually tucked away in secret places, and act as shortcuts or at least routes to places that would be too burdensome for cars.

Walkable-only streets meet these two requirements:
~A named street recognized by the city, state and/or other government entities, to be used by the public.
~Not to be used by motorized vehicles, like cars, buses, motorcycles, trolleys, or light rail.

Are there any walking-only streets in your area? Do you have any pictures of these streets?


Here are my pictures of walkable-only streets:

Annapolis, Maryland, has a few walking-only streets. These streets came about because Annapolis is the only city in the United States that was laid out with just a radial street pattern. This set of radial streets was irregular, and so travelling from one place to another place that were on the same block or within a stone's throw sometimes took a long time because the block was so big. As a result, citizens started cutting across yards and properties for short-cuts. Annapolis eventually bought many of these short-cuts and made them into public streets. One such street is Chancery Court. Chancery Court is named after the Chancery Court of Maryland, which was an old court system that handled business matters only. Chancery Court connects State Circle to Main Street.

Chancery Court




New Castle, Delaware, has several walkable-only streets. Some streets, like Church Alley and Read's Alley, provided short-cuts from Front Street (now called The Strand) to the market square at Market Street and Delaware Street. Silsbee's Alley provided a short-cut from the other direction: Fourth Street to Third Street and the town green. Other streets were pathways connecting Front Street to the wharves along the Delaware River. While the most prominent pathway to the wharves, Packet Alley, does allow for cars, Alexander Alley is one of these pathways that still exists and does not allow cars. In fact, Alexander Alley is paved with grass, and looks like no more than a side lawn.

Church Alley





Alexander Alley





Read's Alley







Silsbee's Alley






Old City and Society Hill in Philadelphia have many streets that are so narrow from the crowding of colonial Philadelphia that there's just not any room for cars. Bladen Court is one such street that is a small side street on a small side street in the middle of a city block.

Bladen Court



Elfreth's Alley is technically open to traffic, so unfortunately it cannot be included despite the discourageement of cars and encouragement of walkington tourists.
 

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Portions of Post Alley in Downtown Seattle are pedestrian-only, including an upper part in the Pike Place Market and a segment through the Harbor Steps development. In other areas it's just an alley, or a real street with sidewalks.

Seattle has a couple hundred (?) stairways where it's too steep for streets. Love 'em.
 

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Iowa City has a pedestrian mall made up of portions of two streets that still, after all these years, is closed to traffic and nicely paved for ped use.
 

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Injecting a little Canada into your area of SSC...

Toronto's got a massively vibrant cultural/market district called Kensington Market where every other Sunday (I think) there's a Pedestrian Day and all traffic is blocked off. To be honest though, the area is so packed nearly every day of the week that a lot of people won't even bother driving through.
 

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I would think South Beach's Lincoln Road would be one of the more well known.

A pic looking down the length of Lincoln Road from the ocean to the bay (the 8 inland blocks are pedestrian only, the 2 blocks closest to the water on both sides have auto traffic as well):
 

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Buffalo's Worst Nightmare
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Pittsburgh has over 700 sets of public staircases... about half of these are legally recognized as "streets". Most areas of the city have staircases.

Here is the intersection of Frazier St. & Romeo St.:


Eleanor St.


St. Michael St.
 

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Many cities attempted to breathe life into downtown by closing off portions of selected streets that formed an ill-fated "pedestrian mall". I'm not sure if any of them were successful, but the ones I'm directly familiar with were total failures...like a lot of other urban renewal projects. But I'm sure those weren't the types of pedestrian streets you were thinking about.

I can't think of any streets like that...it seems like if the path isn't open for vehicular traffic then it isn't actually a "street", but a sidwalk or pedestrian thoroughfare. Right?
 

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Many cities attempted to breathe life into downtown by closing off portions of selected streets that formed an ill-fated "pedestrian mall". I'm not sure if any of them were successful, but the ones I'm directly familiar with were total failures...like a lot of other urban renewal projects. But I'm sure those weren't the types of pedestrian streets you were thinking about.

I can't think of any streets like that...it seems like if the path isn't open for vehicular traffic then it isn't actually a "street", but a sidwalk or pedestrian thoroughfare. Right?
Successful ones? How about Fremont Street in Vegas:



 

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I am not familiar with Fremont Street in Vegas. What is the history of it and when was it closed to vehicles? The ones I was referring to were central downtown streets that had become undesireable in some way, either with hookers frequenting them or crime or just a high vacancy level in the area or low sales, etc. Plus people in the 70's were leaving most cities in droves for the suburbs, and their mindsets were generally anti-downtown.
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
Many cities attempted to breathe life into downtown by closing off portions of selected streets that formed an ill-fated "pedestrian mall". I'm not sure if any of them were successful, but the ones I'm directly familiar with were total failures...like a lot of other urban renewal projects. But I'm sure those weren't the types of pedestrian streets you were thinking about.

I can't think of any streets like that...it seems like if the path isn't open for vehicular traffic then it isn't actually a "street", but a sidwalk or pedestrian thoroughfare. Right?
I know what you're talking about. Those could count, if they are still around today. Most cities admitted defeat and allowed traffic. (Wilmington did this "urban pedestrian mall" plan with Market Street in the 9170's and it failed miserably, and it was converted back for vehicles at around 2000. Final renovations are going on right now, finally, for brick sidewalks and a smooth road surface.) I'm really interested in any road that serves as some sort of little shortcut or something, accessible only by foot or bicycle or so on. It is probably rare for such streets to exist in Business Districts, but you never know what might be behind an obscure corner of a building.

For the record, I think that Fremont Strett in Vegas qualifies, despite being very well known. Actually, it is maybe the only pedestrian-only mall-type street that has been that successful. Of course, the reason it is successful is because the biggest projection screen in the world is right above the street.
 

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I am not familiar with Fremont Street in Vegas. What is the history of it and when was it closed to vehicles? The ones I was referring to were central downtown streets that had become undesireable in some way, either with hookers frequenting them or crime or just a high vacancy level in the area or low sales, etc. Plus people in the 70's were leaving most cities in droves for the suburbs, and their mindsets were generally anti-downtown.
Fremont Street used to be THE street in Vegas. When the new mega resorts started popping up on the other side of town, the old historic casino's (the Horshoe, the Golden Nugget) on Fremont began to hurt. The "Fremont Experience" was put in and the street was closed to auto traffic in the '90's, and the area rebounded.
 

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How about the Santa Monica 3rd Street Promenade. Though there is a road for emergency access, it is pedestrian only (in Los Angeles County, for G-d sakes!) and extremely popular.
 

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How about the Santa Monica 3rd Street Promenade. Though there is a road for emergency access, it is pedestrian only (in Los Angeles County, for G-d sakes!) and extremely popular.
3rd Street Promenade is probably my favorite pedestrian-only street of those I've been to. Great atmosphere in Santa Monica, and it serves more like an anchor point for other retail/restaurants that spill out into the surrounding streets, rather than just standing there by itself with nothing else around it. It's a pedestrian-only street, but at the same time, it also very seamlessly connects to the rest of the area. Plus like you said, it's street where no cars are allowed in L.A. County of all places!
 

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Fremont Street used to be THE street in Vegas. When the new mega resorts started popping up on the other side of town, the old historic casino's (the Horshoe, the Golden Nugget) on Fremont began to hurt. The "Fremont Experience" was put in and the street was closed to auto traffic in the '90's, and the area rebounded.
The fact that it was closed to traffic in the '90s probably has something to do with its success. The ones attempted in the 60's and 70's made fatal mistakes, and I'm sure a city government creating a pedestrian mall 25 years later would be aware of those mistakes and not repeat them. It could probably be a decent idea in 2007 because there isn't as much "tragic urban renewal" philosophy as 40 years ago.

I came up with one in Atlanta that fits the description. Underground was formerly two city streets that were developed-over with bridges and viaducts sometime in the early 1900's. When Underground was developed as a retail/entertainment area, the streets were titled Upper and Lower Alabama Street and Upper and Lower Pryor Street. Both of these streets are pedestrian only, one being directly above the other so it creates a two level facility.
 

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Fremont Street used to be THE street in Vegas. When the new mega resorts started popping up on the other side of town, the old historic casino's (the Horshoe, the Golden Nugget) on Fremont began to hurt. The "Fremont Experience" was put in and the street was closed to auto traffic in the '90's, and the area rebounded.
The fact that it was closed to traffic in the '90s probably has something to do with its success. The ones attempted in the 60's and 70's made fatal mistakes, and I'm sure a city government creating a pedestrian mall 25 years later would be aware of those mistakes and not repeat them. It could probably be a decent idea in 2007 because there isn't as much "tragic urban renewal" philosophy as 40 years ago.

The streets that make up Underground Atlanta were once city streets that were open to automobile traffic. In the early 1900's the city began a massive building program that included viaducts, which left areas like Alabama St. beneath the new street level...which obviously caused the businesses to decline. The street was eventually renamed Upper Alabama and Lower Alabama, and Underground was developed as a shopping/tourist area. The streets became pedestrian only.

Apparently the driver of that silver car doesn't understand "pedestrian only" :nuts:
 
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