The village sounds like a wonderful place, but if you want people to live there or even visit, they have to be able to reach it. And no matter how wonderful a place is, people sometimes have to leave. A village-sized community in particular will have some people who live there working outside, some people who live outside working there, and people leaving for shopping and services that a village of that scale is unable to provide, such as specialized medical treatment.
A couple weeks ago Alon discussed the division of trips into commuting and non-commuting. Here's the table I made based on one he gave:
|Foot or bicycle||Car|
|Long trips||Transit||Transit/walkable||Commuter suburbs|
The Piscataquis Village project is clearly in the quadrant where short errands can be done by walking, but longer trips have to be done by car. Residents and workers will all therefore be expected to have cars and use them on a regular basis. This makes me suspicious that, as on Roosevelt Island, people will be tempted to drive their cars into the village and colonize the Really Narrow Streets for parking "just this one time," or "just because I have a mobility impairment," or for hundreds of other reasons. People are always creative at finding reasons for the rules not to apply to them.
Almost all the Really Narrow Streets on the Piscataquis Village slideshow (photos mostly borrowed from Nathan Lewis, who borrowed them from random tourists) are easily accessible by train. When I was a kid, my parents took me on vacation to a small tourist town in Liguria. I remember being enchanted by the Really Narrow Streets, in particular one that turned into a path winding up into the hills to the next town. I also remember the train station right in the middle of town; the town was easier for tourists to get to by train than by car. The streets that I showed in Boston, Quebec and Rockport are all accessible by train. So are the streets that Lewis shows in Tokyo, London, Paris and various Italian towns.
This is true not only for old Really Narrow Streets, but new ones as well. There's a great development in Sweden built right on a commuter rail stop with hourly service (PDF). Residents who need goods and services that are not available in the village can hop on the train and be in Lund in five minutes.
Some day in the future there may be enough people living carfree in Piscataquis County to support restoring passenger service on the Bangor and Aroostook line, and then a new village with Really Narrow Streets will make perfect sense. Until then, we should look to development sites that are convenient to existing transit. Ideally, we are looking for a brownfield less than an hour away from a major job site on a train or bus line with frequent service all day and evening. It would also be nice to have walkable connections to an existing street grid, so that it can "infect" the surrounding area with its walkability.
Perhaps once we've built a few of these, we can propose an entire new or revived train line, with a series of walkable villages with Really Narrow Streets right next to the train stations and comfortable walking paths connecting them. But a walkable village without transit is a village of drivers who walk every once in a while.