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Width of Streets

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WIDTH OF STREETS. The width of city streets is impor tant on account of its influence upon the ease with which traffic may be conducted and also because of its effect upon the health and comfort of the people by determining the amount of light and air which may penetrate into thickly built-up districts. The streets of nearly all large cities are too narrow, being crowded and dark. A more liberal policy in planning streets would prob ably be of pecuniary advantage, since there is usually an enhanced financial value due to wide streets. A lot 100 feet deep on a street 80 feet wide is usually more valuable than a lot 110 feet deep on a street 60 feet wide; that is to say, within reasonable limits land is usually more valuable in the street than on the rear of the lot. Wide streets are especially needed where they are bordered by high buildings or are to carry street railway lines.

In order properly to accommodate the traffic in business dis tricts of cities of considerable size, a street should have a width of 100 to 140 feet, the whole of it being used for roadway and side walks; while residence streets in a city of considerable size, where the houses are set out to the property line and stand close to gether, should have a width of 60 to 80 feet. Although it is advan tageous to have a wide street, it is not necessary, nor even desir able, that the whole width be paved; the central portion may be paved, a strip on either side being reserved for grass plats. The

width of the pavement should be adjusted to the amount of traffic, which varies greatly accordingly as the street is a business street, a thoroughfare, or an unfrequented residence street.

The width of the streets in different cities varies greatly. In the older places in New England and the Central States, many of the streets are only 30 to 40 feet wide; but in the West a street is seldom less than 60 to 66 feet wide. In both regions the prin cipal streets are often 80 to 100 feet wide, and in many of the larger cities the boulevards and great avenues are 150 to 180 feet. The main avenues in Washington are 160 feet wide, in New York 135, and in Boston 180 feet.

At present the regulations governing the width and the arrange ments of additions and subdivisions of Washington, a city which has the best street plan of any in America (see 464), are: "No new street can be located less than 90 feet in width, and the lead ing avenues must be at least 120 feet wide. Intermediate streets 60 feet wide, called places, are allowed within blocks; but full width streets must be located not more than 600 feet apart."