This post originally appeared on Orphan Road.

Seattle will soon close part of three streets for a few hours, for exactly one day per street this summer. This is not a big deal for many cities, and the town where I went to college would do this once a month on their main street throughout the summer. But can this be the beginning of a positive change?

I’ve long thought that a great idea for a city of any size is to have a few car-free streets. If you build narrow streets this allows for Europe-style density, and if you leave them wide then you have potential for public meeting areas. Noise is dramatically reduced, safety is increased, and the neighborhood becomes much more walkable.

Car-free streets generally have tables set up for outside dining, served by nearby restaurants. You’ll see children playing, and people promenading – window shopping, people watching, eating ice cream. The street becomes a destination, not something in your way to a destination.

But how does car-fixated Seattle react to this small step toward something beautiful? Well, read the comments yourself.

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