Menton, La Rue Saint Michel

The enclosure in this narrow street approaches failure but does not. The buildings in the distance do close off the street, but if the straight section of the street were any longer, the enclosure would begin to dissolve. (One disadvantage of long, straight streets.)

I think this is an excellent width of street, although few would now dare to build new urban areas with major streets this narrow. This street is wide enough to permit a tram to pass through, but it has been necessary to run the tram through a parallel street for its return journey, which is not in itself a disadvantage (and actually improves safety, since passing trams are never concealed behind each other). In fact, the reference design for carfree cities proposes precisely this, if it is decided to use a tram system instead of a metro.

It is odd that most of the buildings on left side of the street are lower than those on the right side. I suspect, however, that the low building on the left is in fact a public market, and these buildings traditionally are built with high ceilings and no upper floors. I suspect that this is because they stay cooler this way, and the noise is somewhat reduced - I have seen this pattern in many markets.

Notice how many people are using the street. There is one bicycle and one cart, and everyone else is on foot.

Notice the micropark on the left side. This is just a swelling in the street, probably only for a short distance, but it is a safe bet that it sees intense use. It is more usual to include squares at intersections, for the desire is to increase activity, but the placement of a park in the manner seen here helps to keep it calm and quiet.

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