Roads are the largest public spaces in the world, but why do we make them only accessible to cars? One Redditor is showing the progress being made in Leeds, UK, in transforming streets to spaces that can be accessed by people, bikers, and urban infrastructure rather than just dirty cars.
The before-and-after photos were shared on an anti-car Reddit forum and show a city in transition. While roadways with single-use passenger vehicles took up the majority of the before shots, the after photos were a stunning transformation.
The sidewalks became larger, which resulted in safer conditions for pedestrians and bikers, while trees and some impervious surfaces lined the sides. One photo showed how the former roadway was now used as a space for outdoor dining and bustling urban infrastructure.
Cities have long been built with cars in mind, but it’s hopeful to see a city that has progressively made people more important. Passenger vehicles have long been a problem in urban spaces for many reasons. Not only do they cause traffic hangups and frustration from pedestrians, but they also contribute to air pollution and smog.
Leeds is not the only city that is becoming less car-friendly — and for a good reason. Dusseldorf, Germany, recently replaced a multi-lane highway with a large park to better accommodate outdoor recreation opportunities. In addition, urban planners in Brussels, Belgium, replaced the Boulevard Anspach with bike lanes and pedestrian spaces, completely removing the asphalt road.
The result of both of these transformations was a city that was safer for pedestrians and bikers, and more considerate of the environment.
Other Reddit users were stunned by the transformation in the United Kingdom.
“Yes Leeds! I let myself believe that things like this will inevitably continue to happen more purely because it is economically beneficial and popular with the people who go there,” one user pointed out.
Another indicated that this city was proof that the “war on cars” is alive and well. “I, for one, support a war on cars if this is the product of it,” they wrote. “This is great, hope they keep going!”
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