BLDG BLOG's Geoff Manaugh has posted an eloquent rant about the nature of streets and about how "street" has sadly come to mean: "an infrastructure for the near-exclusive use of trucks and automobiles."
He posits a theory that people's nostalgia for their college days is actually nostalgia for the only time in one's life where you "walk everywhere."
He winds up the post with three thoughts:
1) A "street" is not simply space devoted to automobiles. It's a place of movement, outdoors, that connects different destinations.
2) Cities could be designed to look like college campuses, full of trees and paths and benches and interchangeable varieties of long walks between different locations – whether those locations are churches, bookstores, police stations, football stadiums, private homes, or hash bars.
3) The reason you need a car is because you're surrounded by highways and parking lots – it's not the other way around. City planners need to realize this.
Can't improve much on that (though I might have foregone the "hash bar" reference).
Read the whole thing.