COVID-19 is changing the shape of our cities. We have talked about cities like Oakland which are closing streets for pedestrians and the expansion of bike lanes in New York and Bogotá. The pandemic is continuing to revolutionize how people get around. Here are some ways our metropolitan areas are changing.
Cities are boosting public transportation and bikeshare programs to help essential workers get where they need to go. 50 cities, such as Los Angeles and Detroit, have eliminated bus fares and 10, including London and Glasgow, have created free bikeshare programs.
In addition to Oakland, the cities of Portland, Minneapolis, and Calgary have also created car-free zones so pedestrians can more safely walk outdoors and complete essential shopping.
Perth, Auckland, and Boston have all installed more automated crossing signals so people don’t have to touch “beg buttons” that could be contaminated.
These changes come as a response to COVID-19, but many of them including free public transportation, expanded bike access, and reduced car parking have been hailed by sustainability experts for years as ways to make cities greener and more maneuverable.
If we’re lucky, the increased cycling and walking instituted during the pandemic will stick around even after cities go back to normal life. These infrastructure adjustments could be the key to mitigating emissions and meeting the challenges of climate change.