“Cars will soon be restricted from 74 miles of Oakland’s residential streets during the coronavirus-inspired shelter-in-place, a move bicycle advocates wish would happen in other cities.” reports Allie Rasmus for FOX KTVU News.
At a virtual town hall, Mayor Libby Schaaf announced the temporary emergency measure called “Oakland Slow Streets”. Recognizing the need for people to get out and exercise, the city has taken advantage of reduced traffic to make better use of its streets.
The street closures will follow proposed bike routes as well as existing ones. Residents who live on those bike routes will still be able to drive to and from their homes but speed limits will be reduced to 10 miles per hour. The closures will be marked by traffic cones, signs and barricades and the city is hoping residents will comply.
The move has been met with enthusiasm on social media from pedestrian and bicycle advocates. Oakland is not the first city to limit cars from streets during the pandemic, but right now it’s in the lead of a national trend. San Francisco already had a car-free streets program, Denver has closed some streets and advocates are urging similar actions in NYC, Cambridge, Mass. and Berkeley, CA.
Since the lockdown, sidewalks have become so congested in places that it’s been difficult to exercise and still maintain social distancing. And while stay-at-home orders remain in place, it can be easy to feel trapped or become a little stir-crazy unless you can go outside. With this plan, people in Oakland will be able to get outdoors and exercise safely.
Read the original article here.
Image by John D. Norton