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Old 09-22-2013, 07:57 PM
 
Location: Philadelphia, PA
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We just got back from a visit from Brooklyn / Chinatown / East Village and it was striking how much more spread out the buildings were. Even though there were just as many people on the street at a given time, philly streets are more intimate. I felt that brooklyn had about the comfort level on the streets as say University City. I think philly has a perfect amount of street space, just enough to drive in your stuff so you can walk from there. A more built up philly would be more dense than NYC and it wouldn't take much (in comparison).
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Old 09-22-2013, 08:37 PM
 
Location: back in Philadelphia!
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Brooklyn's a big and varied place. Some parts are very intimate at street level, with narrow streets to boot. Chinatown has some really tiny streets in the older parts too (assuming you're talking about Manhattan Chinatown not any of the other ones).

I agree on the E.Village though.
Philly just doesn't have many streets as wide as (post Commissioner's Plan) NYC avenues.
If it built up to NY level density it might need em, though.
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Old 09-22-2013, 09:27 PM
 
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I love Philly's narrow streets and alleys. It really makes the city human-scale as opposed to seeming like it was built for cars (I'm thinking of DC's wide boulevards here). Maybe because I'm just used to it, but I like the size of Philly's blocks compared to those in other cities (especially Manhattan). For me, they are the perfect length.
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Old 09-23-2013, 05:35 AM
 
Location: South Jersey
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Its one of the existing features of the city that has been there since the beginning. i love em too
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Old 09-23-2013, 09:56 AM
 
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The narrow streets are one of the things that really stand out about Philly. As an outsider, I find them a bit claustrophobic...I actually really like the wide avenues and plazas in DC and NYC. For those that prefer an intimate setting though, Philly is great.
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Old 09-23-2013, 10:00 AM
 
Location: Philadelphia
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I really love the narrow streets-more walkable, human scale, intimate. I also love being able to quickly cross the street anywhere I want and slide through stop signs while driving.

Some visitors of mine would literally not go down some of the side streets in South Philly for fear of scratching their car.
I once knew someone that owned a Hummer on one such street haha.
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Old 09-23-2013, 10:18 AM
 
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Quote:
Some visitors of mine would literally not go down some of the side streets in South Philly for fear of scratching their car.
I once knew someone that owned a Hummer on one such street haha.
I know the feeling, and I drive a Mazda. Definitely thinking I should have bought a Fiat or something else tiny to fit in to the Euro-style streets in Philly.

That said, the city is ironically much easier to drive through because of the grid and the one-ways. Much easier than more recent "car-friendly" cities in the area.
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Old 09-23-2013, 10:41 AM
 
Location: Philly
10,026 posts, read 14,474,108 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 2e1m5a View Post
I really love the narrow streets-more walkable, human scale, intimate. I also love being able to quickly cross the street anywhere I want and slide through stop signs while driving.

Some visitors of mine would literally not go down some of the side streets in South Philly for fear of scratching their car.
I once knew someone that owned a Hummer on one such street haha.
I agree, the small size of the streets is part of what makes Philadelphia one of the (and potentially the best) walking cities in the country. DC streets are very unpleasant to cross and what's worse, driving there is still a complete nightmare with confusing diagonals and numbering scheme.
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Old 09-23-2013, 10:50 AM
 
Location: Eastchester, Bronx, NY
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Quote:
Originally Posted by pman View Post
I agree, the small size of the streets is part of what makes Philadelphia one of the (and potentially the best) walking cities in the country. DC streets are very unpleasant to cross and what's worse, driving there is still a complete nightmare with confusing diagonals and numbering scheme.
Well, DC has a lot of "circles" which make driving there all the more challenging.

I don't think the narrow streets in Philly are a negative. The Financial District in Manhattan are almost all narrow streets (though many are pedestrian only).
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Old 09-23-2013, 12:11 PM
 
Location: back in Philadelphia!
3,260 posts, read 4,877,400 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by K 22 View Post
Well, DC has a lot of "circles" which make driving there all the more challenging.

I don't think the narrow streets in Philly are a negative. The Financial District in Manhattan are almost all narrow streets (though many are pedestrian only).
The original street plan and early development of Philadelphia is of the same era as much of the Financial district in Manhattan, which is why the scale is similar.

Likewise, the OP mentioned parts of Brooklyn seeming similar in street scale to University City, which makes sense because much of classic 'Brownstone Brooklyn' dates to the 1860's/70's, which is the same time that West Philadelphia began to be developed.
The older, 18th century parts of Brooklyn are more similar to Center City.

DC on the other hand was almost entirely developed in the 19th-20th centuries, and is sort of a different animal from a planning perspective.
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