In today’s subdivisions the streets have no other official function except to funnel the cars to and fro. One of the problems with cars is that all drivers are not highly skilled—often they are even drunk—and accidents happen. So to remove some of the danger that drivers pose, highway engineers have developed a standard perfect modern suburban street. It is at least thirty-six feet wide—same as a county highway—with generous turning radii. This makes it easy to drive well in excess of thirty miles an hour, a speed at which fatal accidents begin to happen. The perfect modern suburban street has no trees planted along the edge that might pose a hazard to the motorist incapable of keeping his Buick within the thirty-six-foot-wide street. The street does not terminate in any fixed objective that might be pleasant to look at or offer a visual sense of destination—no statues, fountains, or groves of trees. Such decorative focal points might invite automotive catastrophe, not to mention the inconvenience of driving around them. With no trees arching over the excessively wide streets, and no focal points to direct the eye, and cars whizzing by at potentially lethal speeds, the modern suburban street is a bleak, inhospitable, and hazardous environment for the pedestrian.
James Howard Kunstler
The Geography of Nowhere