How Santa Monica's Third Street Became a Promenade

King of the road? Since 1965, the pedestrian rather than the private automobile has reigned over a three-block stretch of downtown Santa Monica. Today, the Third Street Promenade is one of the Southland's best-known examples of a public space that prioritizes pedestrians over cars.

But while it's tempting to view the Promenade as a precursor to complete-streets initiatives like Bringing Back Broadway and the Sunset Triangle Plaza, the bayside city's pedestrian mall is actually a legacy of the same "urban renewal" impulse that such initiatives seek to correct.

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