My review of Emily Talen’s book City Rules, published in Baltimore’s land use journal, is now online at the SSRN website.
In this book, Talen shows how municipal zoning and street design regulations not only favor automobile-dependent development, but have become more auto-oriented over time.
For example, one of the regulations Talen discusses is curb radii (the measurement of the edge of a block). Streets built in the 1920s and earlier typically have small curb radii, which means that streets end at right angles and cars have to slow down to make right turns. By contrast, late 20th century suburbs typically have 30-50 foot curb radii, which means that streets typically end in curves rather than at right angles.
These large curb radii shave space from sidewalks, making walking less comfortable. And by facilitating right turns, they ensure that cars turning right go faster, thus making right turns more dangerous for pedestrians.