Swanston Street was one of the main north–south streets originally laid out in the 1837 Hoddle Grid. Originally carrying pedestrians and horse-drawn cart traffic, the street resembled many typical European avenues of the 19th century. By the end of the 19th century it was carrying one of the major tram lines through the city. With the advent of the automobile in the early 20th century, the street became a major thoroughfare, carrying automobile traffic between areas north of the city and St Kilda Road throughout most of the 20th century.The southern half of the street historically had problems with heavy traffic and carbon monoxide pollution, homelessness and loitering, and a plethora of discount stores, fast food outlets, sex shops and strip joints, throughout the later half of the 20th century.In the 1990s the street was closed to daytime private through-traffic between Flinders and La Trobe Streets, roughly half its length. This section is known as Swanston Street Walk.