The first one-way streets were established in London

Wednesday 23rd August 1617

The first one-way streets were established in London. An Act of Common Council was passed to regulate the “disorder and rude behaviour of Carmen, Draymen and others using Cartes.” Seventeen narrow and congested lanes were specified. They ran into Thames Street, including Pudding Lane (where the Great Fire of London began in 1667). The next one-way street in London was Albemarle Street in Mayfair, the location of the Royal Institution. It was so designated in 1800 because the public science lectures were so popular there.

One story of the origin of the one-way street in the United States originated in Asbury Park, New Jersey. On 9 September 1934, the on-fire SS Morro Castle was towed to the shore near the Asbury Park Convention Center and the sightseeing traffic was enormous. The Asbury Park Police Chief decided to make the Ocean Avenue one-way going north and the street one block over (Kingsley) in one-way going south, creating a circular route. By the 1950s this “cruising the circuit” became a draw to the area in itself since teens would drive around it looking to hook up with other teens. The circuit was in place until the streets went back to two way in 2007 due to new housing and retail development.

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