Russell Shorto is the author of “The Island at the Center of the World” and a contributing writer at The New York Times Magazine. He is working on a book about Amsterdam.

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While Europe is dealing with congestion and greenhouse gas buildup by turning urban centers into pedestrian zones and finding innovative ways to combine driving with public transportation, many American cities are carving out more parking spaces. It’s all the more bewildering because America’s collapsing infrastructure would seem to cry out for new solutions.