Traffic and architecture combine to kill a street

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This is The Lamb in Totnes, England, approximately one block from the town’s charming, pedestrian-scaled and friendly High Street.  This street is used as a cut-thru of regional proportions as drivers seek to take off approximately one mile of distance in order to get to the Totnes bypass.  The street has no legal devices (stop signs or traffic lights) or physical impediments (chicanes, speed tables -not humps, etc.) to slow traffic; while that little bit of cobble does nothing visually or physically to slow traffic, it does show that planners know that speed is a problem.  Thus, the street is exposed to a constant flow of high velocity traffic.  This limits any possibility of pleasant pedestrian street.

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The residential architecture which lines this section was perhaps designed in response to the conditions of the street.  These buildings are bunker-like, with no human scale charm or warmth. There are no signs of human habitation on either side of the street. At the greets a pedestrian on one side of the street are garage doors, while the other offers only a slab with what looks like a firing slit.

This is what a dead street looks like.  The worrisome question is whether this blight can be contained on just this street, or if the deadening effects on social life and property values will spread.

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