Cities of the world give their streets to walkers and cyclists | News from the world


A an increasing number of cities around the world are temporarily reallocating road space from cars to people on foot and by bike to keep key workers on the move and coronavirus residents healthy and active while socially distancing themselves .

Urban park’s limited space and recreational trails are under increasing pressure, many of which are closed to prevent the spread of the coronavirus, further limiting urban residents’ access to the outdoor space. As traffic has dropped worldwide and, with it, nitrogen dioxide levels, an increase in speeding endanger those walking and cycling.

Evidence suggests that air pollution, including from exhaust fumes, significantly affects the chances of survival for people with Covid-19. With pedestrians crowded on narrow sidewalks, and acres of empty asphalt on the roads, lower speed limits, filtering residential streets to prevent rats from running, introducing emergency bike lanes and l Wider trails are among the potential solutions.

Tabitha Combs, a lecturer at the University of North Carolina, is collecting examples from around the world, adding to the growing calls for more such measures.

“No matter where a city is on the walking and cycling support spectrum, there are actions that are within their reach, and precedents for these actions are being implemented in peer cities around the world,” says- she.

In Philadelphia, authorities closed 4.7 miles from Martin Luther King Jr Drive, a wide riverside boulevard on March 20, to traffic, following a petition by 1,100 people, while Recreational trails were overwhelmed by residents looking for their daily exercise.

Minneapolis has closed part of its waterfront rides to motor vehicles. Denver introduced cycle and pedestrian paths on 16th and 11th avenues and the roads around Sloan Lake to help people socially distance themselves during the exercise. Oakland officials on Thursday said they were planning to close 74 miles of roads – 10% of the city’s total – to motor vehicles.

In Canada, the Vancouver Park Council has announced that Stanley Park is now only cycling and walking, as well as the eastbound lane of Beach Avenue, to relieve congestion and prevent visitors from arriving. car and park dangerously, amid a 40% increase in park users. In Winnipeg, four streets are limited to cycling and walking 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. daily and in Calgary traffic lanes have been reallocated on the bike.

Skaters wearing personal protective equipment on the embankment of Stanley Park in Vancouver

Skaters wearing personal protective equipment on the embankment in Stanley Park in Vancouver. Photography: Darryl Dyck / AP

Like many cities, Budapest experienced a drop in bus use of almost 90%, with a 50% drop in road traffic. The city authorities have now planned a cycling network on the main roads.

Sydney, Perth and Adelaide in Australia, Chapel Hill in the United States and Calgary in Canada are among the cities that have automated pedestrian crossings in certain neighborhoods so people don’t have to press a button.

In Berlin, a multitude of streets have new wide cycle lanes in place of certain lanes reserved for motor vehicles. Bogotá has ambitiously replaced 35 km of traffic lanes with new emergency bicycle lanes using temporary cones, reflecting the Colombian capital’s TransMilenio rapid transit network, an alternative to people using public transport. Workers adjust the width of the track based on usage.

A new temporary bike path in Berlin

A new temporary bike path in Berlin. Photography: Annegret Hilse / Reuters

At the end of March, the mayor of Mexico City proposed 130 km of temporary bicycle paths. Meanwhile, a temporary 1.7 km track, from 8 a.m. to 7 p.m., has been installed on a main artery.

In the UK, however, it is a very different picture. In London, where traffic has fallen by 63% on main roads, Walking and Cycling Commissioner Will Norman said that emergency cycle routes on city arteries would not protect cyclists without complex improvements at intersections, which would force construction workers to move around during the lockout.

Cycling UK policy director Roger Geffen suggested that junctions could be redesigned while roads are calmer, saying that temporary cycling infrastructure “provides a good experience for new commuters, while claiming that limiting space when he’s not under pressure and not as disruptive to make changes. ”

Hackney’s council in east London is the first local authority in the United Kingdom to openly plan to “filter” its streets temporarily, using terminals and planters to keep rats from running while keeping the access to emergency vehicles and residents. Councilor Jon Burke said he would decide which streets to filter on April 20 before starting work.

Burke said that Guardian pedestrians entering the road to get away from each other socially are at risk from the speeding of drivers, whose numbers appear to increase during the lockdown. He says construction workers can operate while socially distancing themselves, and this is an area with excess capacity during the pandemic.


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