The Metro Transportation Library and Archive has uncovered a gem at its YouTube channel--a General Motors-produced video from the fifties on "traffic solutions" in America's downtowns. The video starts off with the narrator insinuating that the nation's forefathers designed our cities incorrectly because the streets aren't wide enough for all the cars (visual: Ben Franklin driving a convertible down the freeway). Proposed solutions include cutting out on-street parking, building parking around the perimeters of city centers, adding more buses, and putting in bus-only lanes/streets, plus: "Streets should be widened wherever possible in congested cities." (At least some of those ideas were proposed by architecture firm Gensler for Downtown LA recently.) Los Angeles gets some airtime (starts at 5:08), and there're some wonderful shots of bustling mid-century Downtown. "The heart of America's fourth largest city still has most of its Downtown streets in the narrow historic pattern of the past; entirely inadequate for the traffic of today."
· Solutions to City Traffic Congestion (1950s) [metrolibrarian]