From Berlin to Bogotá there are new footpaths and bike lanes – but not in London
Laura LakerSat 11 Apr 2020 09.00
A growing number of cities around the world are temporarily reallocating road space from cars to people on foot and on cycles to keep key workers moving and residents in coronavirus lockdown healthy and active while socially distancing.
Limited urban park space and leisure trails are under increasing pressure, with many closed to prevent the spread of coronavirus, further limiting urban dwellers’ access to outdoor space. While traffic has dropped around the world, and with it nitrogen dioxide levels, there are widespread concerns over a rise in speeding drivers endangering those walking and cycling.
Evidence suggests air pollution, including from exhaust fumes, significantly harms the survival chances of those with Covid-19. With pedestrians crammed on to narrow pavements, and acres of empty asphalt on roads, lower speed limits, filtering residential streets to prevent rat-running, introducing emergency cycleways and expanding footpaths are among potential solutions.
Tabitha Combs, a lecturer at the University of North Carolina, is collating examples from around the world, adding to growing calls for more such measures.
“No matter where a city is on the spectrum of supporting walking and bicycling, there are actions that are within their reach, and precedents of those actions being implemented in peer cities around the globe,” she says.
In Philadelphia officials closed 4.7 miles of Martin Luther King Jr Drive, a wide riverside boulevard, to motor traffic on 20 March following an 1,100-strong petition, as leisure trails became overwhelmed by residents seeking their daily exercise.
Minneapolis has closed part of its riverfront parkways to motor vehicles. Denver has introduced pop-up cycling and walking lanes on 16th and 11th Avenues and roads around Sloan Lake to help people socially distance while exercising. On Thursday, Oakland officials said they were planning to close 74 miles of roads – 10% of the city’s total – to motor vehicles.
In Canada, Vancouver’s park board announced that Stanley Park is now cycling and walking only, as well as the linked eastbound lane of Beach Avenue, to relieve congestion and stop visitors arriving by car and parking dangerously, amid a 40% increase in park users. In Winnipeg, four streets are restricted to cycling and walking from 8am-8pm daily, and in Calgary traffic lanes have been reallocated to cycling.
World cities turn their streets over to walkers and cyclists | The Guardian
From Berlin to Bogotá there are new footpaths and bike lanes – but not in London Laura LakerSat 11 Apr 2020 09.00 A growing number of cities around the world are temporarily reallocating road space from cars to people on foot and on cycles to keep key workers moving and residents in coronavirus lockdown healthy… [Read More]