As cities around the world have gone into lockdown and instituted social distancing measures to slow the spread of the covid19 pandemic, something unexpected has happened: We’ve gotten an impromptu demonstration of the benefits of living with fewer cars and less driving. Seething gridlock has vanished, smoggy skies have cleared, global carbon emissions are way down, and forward-thinking mayors are rapidly re-programming their streets to give human beings the space that once belonged to motor vehicles. Is the world witnessing the wrenching, difficult birth of the car-free city? Or are we merely living in the brief moment before cities snap back into even deeper automobile dependence, the car serving as the ultimate personal protective equipment? Plus: We hear from City of Oakland Transportation Director Ryan Russo.