Regularity of daily travel the basis of its effect on city structure. - Chief daily movements between residence and business. - Shopping habits of various classes. - Retail stores chiefly located by currents of travel. - Change of axis of city traffic. - Fluidity of daily travel. - Street railroads, elevated, underground, bridges, ferries, etc.
The life of a city involves continual travel, day and night, throughout its entire area, the most notable feature of which, and the basis of its effect on the city's structure, is its regularity. The inhabitants of a city do not intermingle at random, but go from one place to another by the quickest, shortest, or most agreeable route. For example, in New York many thousands of the upper classes have never been west of Sixth Avenue or east of Third Avenue, except to the ferries, and many thousands on the lower east side have never seen Fifth Avenue, while in New Orleans, many Creoles have never crossed Canal Street into the American quarter.
The chief daily movements consist of the journeys of business men between their residences and their places of business, the complex interweaving of these men within the business centre and the shorter trips of workmen between their homes and their workshops.
In modern cities the main currents of business men's travel are carried by street railroads, so that the travel consists of short trips on foot converging to the street railroads, a long trip in the cars to the business centre and there short trips on foot again. In some cities where there are hills between the business and residence sections, the currents of foot travel follow a zigzag course up and down the hill, it being easier to turn corners than encounter grades. A variation may occur in the return trip where men stop at clubs, cafes or hotel lobbies, the location of these favorite haunts causing a different route to be taken, with some resulting influence on values.
Within the business districts occur the continual interchange of visits, by means of which the business of the city is accomplished. Here, although the trips are short, the necessity for saving time leads to the gathering together of the various forms of business in special districts. In large cities the daily trips of workmen are made chiefly on foot and are widely diffused throughout the tenement districts, with small effect except that certain more convenient streets attract cheap shops.
The daily trips of women are made either for shopping, calling or driving. Here, as in men's trips, the travel consists of short trips on foot to the street car lines, which carry the concentrated travel to the largest shops, where the cars are left and the women walk to the other shops. For the same reason of convenience women's shops are crowded together in order to save time in going among them.
The display of goods is vital for shops, and in order to display goods shade is necessary; hence the side of the street which is shady during the part of the day in which women shop is normally worth from 20 per cent. to 40 per cent and occasionally 100 per cent. more than the sunny side of the street. The west side of streets running north and south, and the south side of streets running east and west, are shady the greater part of the year from about 12 or 1 o'clock on, permitting a display of goods without fear of fading, and rendering the sidewalk agreeable. The greater part of the purchasing in the large shops is done by women of the middle classes, whose household duties prevent them from reaching the shops until after 11 o'clock. The busiest shopping hours are from 11 o'clock to 4 o'clock, many women taking lunch either in the department stores or in restaurants nearby. The women of wealth shop usually in the morning between 11 and 2 o'clock, so that even in their case the west or south side of the street has some advantage of shade. In southern cities where shade is even more important, the relative value of the four corners of two intersecting business streets is well defined, the southwest corner being the most valuable, the southeast next, the northwest next, and finally the northeast corner. This refers only to retail shopping fronts, the corners having a different order of preference if desired for other purposes, such as hotels or office buildings. It is said that in such northern latitudes as those of St. Petersburg and Montreal the sunny side of the street is more valuable than the shady side, since it attracts the travel in the long winters. In New York some difference can be noted in the tides of foot travel according to the time of year, but since for eight or nine months of the year the climate is mild, the shops become established on the shady side of the street and whatever travel in winter changes to the sunny side is not sufficient to draw them over.