Cities Around The World That Yield Their Streets To Cyclists And Walkers During The Coronavirus

Returning to a car-dominated Paris after the running of the bulls is out of the question, according to the city’s mayor, Anne Hidalgo, who in a plenary session of the Paris City Council, Hidalgo was blunt about maintaining anti-pollution measures and anti-congestion.

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“I say very firmly that it is impossible for us to be invaded by cars and pollution,” he said: “The health crisis will worsen. Pollution is itself a health crisis and a danger, and pollution coupled with Coronavirus is a particularly dangerous cocktail. So it is out of the question to think that getting to the heart of the city by car is any kind of solution, when it could actually exacerbate the situation. “

Paris will reserve some of the main arteries of the city for cyclists and will pedestrianize thirty streets starting next week, when mobility restrictions due to the coronavirus begin to be lifted in the country. The objective of the measure is to avoid crowds, make it easier to maintain physical distance measures between people and alleviate the influx of users on public transport.

Hidalgo has announced that they will specifically enable 50 kilometers of lanes normally used by automobiles. In addition, the streets to be pedestrianized will be “particularly around schools to avoid groups of people,” Hidalgo said.

These temporary bike path plans are not exclusively Parisian: they are already being launched in Milan, Barcelona, ​​Brussels and Berlin, among others, in an attempt to make it easier for city residents to move around while social distancing is applied and crowds are being fought on trains and buses to the extent that move forward with the lack of confidence.

What the coronavirus crisis is demonstrating, too, is that cities were designed and planned in different contexts, with architectural and urban planning systems from an era with another set of problems and that may be lacking to address the challenges of the moment.

“What if we were to use modular building tools more effectively not only to deal with pandemics or natural disasters, but also to create less expensive and faster-building buildings overall, from pop-up shops to affordable housing?” reflected the architecture expert Sam Lubell in the Los Angeles Times: “What if we broaden our sense of what a building could be and transform empty shopping malls into empty schools or offices into transitional housing for the homeless? What if we take advantage of teleworking not just as a way to social distance, but as a way to help employees achieve work-life balance, spending more time with family, exercising, or doing any number of things that make them healthier? “

So, 11 mayors from around the world are launching the Global Mayors COVID-19 Recovery Task Force, an international working group that aims to promote a sustainable economic recovery in the face of the crisis generated by COVID-19.

The members of the working group are: Giuseppe Sala, President of the ‘Global Mayors COVID-19 Recovery Task Force’ and Mayor of Milan, Italy; Yvonne Aki Sawyerr, Mayor of Freetown, Sierra Leone; KS Wong, Environment Officer from Hong Kong, China; Fernando Medina, Mayor of Lisbon, Portugal; Ahmed Aboutaleb, Mayor of Rotterdam, The Netherlands; Daniel Quintero Calle, Mayor of Medellín, Colombia; Sally Capp, Mayor of Melbourne, Australia; Valérie Plante, Mayor of Montreal, Canada; LaToya Cantrell, Mayor of New Orleans, United States; Jenny Durkan, Mayor of Seattle, United States; and Won-soon Park, Mayor of Seoul, South Korea.

The goal is to drive an economic recovery that improves public health, reduces inequality, and addresses the climate crisis. The task force will explore avenues for an economic recovery that will allow people to return to their jobs while preventing climate collapse from creating an even more serious crisis in the global economy and in the lives and livelihoods of communities. from all over the planet.

Meanwhile, governments locals around the world are taking action To deal with the present moment of confinement, de-escalation and people having to move: new bicycle lanes are being enabled, restructuring traffic signs, suspending payment on some transports, closing some streets to vehicle traffic and taking other transport measures temporary.

CityLab has mapped some of the changes using data from the Covid-19 Transportation Response Center of the National Association of Transportation Officials, a recently released repository of emergency responses.

Some of the measurements are as simple as flipping a switch: Perth (Australia), Auckland (New Zealand) and Boston (Massachusetts) automated traffic lights so pedestrians don’t have to press buttons that may be contaminated.

Other technically easy changes, though they may be more difficult for municipal collectors to bear: At least 50 cities, including Los Angeles and Detroit, have suspended bus fares. At least ten, including London and Glasgow, have made bike-sharing systems free, and at least a dozen have cut street parking fees.

Some large cities have taken more measures. At least seven cities in the US and Canada, including Portland, Minneapolis, and Calgary, have temporarily stopped or limited vehicle access on certain roads to help walk, bike, or take a break outdoors according to distancing guidelines Social.

In Philadelphia, reports The Guardian, about 7 miles from Martin Luther King Jr Drive, a wide riverside boulevard, has been closed to motorized traffic after a request from 1,100 people. Minneapolis has closed part of its riverfront greenways to motorized vehicles. Denver has introduced bike and pedestrian lanes on 16th and 11th Avenues and roads around Lake Sloan to help people at a social distance while exercising. And Oakland officials said they planned to close more than 100 miles of roads (10% of the city’s total) to motorized vehicles.

In Canada, Vancouver park managers announced that Stanley Park can only be enjoyed by bike and walking. In Winnipeg, four streets are restricted to cycling and walking from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. daily, and in Calgary traffic lanes have been re-assigned to cycling.

Bogotá, Mexico City and Berlin have expanded cycling networks to make way for bicycles, which have become the mode of choice without a car at a time of social distance.

Like many cities, Budapest has seen a drop in bus use by almost 90%, with a 50% decrease in road traffic, explains the Guardian, and the municipal authorities plan a cycling network on the main roads.

In Berlin, a lot of streets have new and wide bicycle lanes, instead of some motor vehicle lanes. Bogotá has replaced 35km of traffic lanes with new temporary bicycle lanes marked with cones.

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