|A naked street in Britain|
|A complete "road" in Minnesota. Courtesy Strong Towns.|
|Spruce-Pine complete street design. Note that the total width must be 50 ft., and everything else flows from that.|
Naked streets are primarily European, and emphasize narrow streets lined with pedestrian uses and amenities, no signage whatsoever, no barrier between pedestrian and motorist whatsoever, and very subtle (texture changes are popular) differentiation between vehicular and non-vehicular "zones" on the street. Since scale and detailing prioritizes the pedestrian, a naked street is in essence a pedestrian zone the motorist "borrows" for the duration of his trip. Since this is not the motorist's element, the perception of a lack of safety, on his part, is greater, and thus (ironically enough) the street is safer*. They are clearly rooted in traditional urban paradigms, and are thus of great interest to Old Urbanism, as a nascent movement of sorts. Unlike complete streets, narrow streets can fit in far narrower rights-of-way--even as narrow as the 12 ft. Nathan Lewis likes, or, in the American landscape, probably more commonly the standard width of the city's streets, as determined by prewar building tradition (50 feet in Philadelphia, for example).
Since complete streets' and naked streets' optimal widths are so different, with only the teensiest overlap at 50 ft., a scalar system immediately suggests itself...a scalar system which looks, remarkably enough, quite like Philadelphia's grid, with 75 ft. complete-street arterials, 20 ft. naked-streets, and finally sub-20 ft. mews running through the blocks defined by the naked streets (Philadelphia's grid is historically 50 ft., with the exceptions of Market and Broad, at 100 ft., all of which was considered generously wide in 1700). The end result is a street paradigm which promotes a built form extremely close to the older parts of Philadelphia and Boston, such as can be seen below.
* Which says a lot about human nature, really.