Season 1 Episode 16:


Talking with Peter Norton about some of the parallels of the dawn of the motor age and our current pandemic driven push for more people-oriented space on our streets.

We are in the midst of truly extraordinary times, there’s no doubt about it, but with the current push to reclaim our streets from the motor vehicle to facilitate a bit of physical distancing while getting a breath of fresh air, who better to welcome into the Active Towns Podcast than the preeminent transportation historian, Peter D. Norton, Associate Professor of History in the Department of Engineering and Society at the University of Virginia and the author of Fighting Traffic: The Dawn of the Motor Age in the American City, published in 2008, by the MIT Press.

Additional Helpful Links:

Fietsstraat (or bicycle priority street)

Woonerf (or shared street)

Silent Spring by Rachel Carson

Level of Service (LOS)

Audio Production by Active Towns

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Creative Commons License: Attributions Non-Commercial No Derivatives 2020

Music: Happy News by Evgeny Kiselevich via

Photo on the left above:

On the weekend of 11–12 July 1953, residents blocked the intersection of Hellerman and Walker Streets in Philadelphia, demanding stop signs. Stop signs were installed Monday afternoon, 13 July. (Philadelphia Evening Bulletin, 12 July 1953. Courtesy Special Collections Research Center, Temple University Libraries, Philadelphia.)

Cambridge Univeristy Press article by Peter D. Norton, Persistent pedestrianism: urban walking in motor age America, 1920s–1960s