Why are our streets so wide if they predate cars?

April 26th, 2012
history, transit
My residential street is wide enough for cars to drive down it even when there are cars parked on both sides. This would make sense if the neighborhood had been planned around the car, but the house is from around 1895 and the street is even older. Why was it made so wide?

(One possiblity is that the street was narrower but it was widened at some point. But I don't think historic maps are accurate enough to indicate street width.)

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