If you live in a heavily populated area, maintaining social distancing practices while taking walks around the neighborhood can be a challenge and require weaving around people and across streets. Oakland, California is helping residents get outside by closing 74 miles of streets in the city for pedestrian and cyclist use only.
The project, called Oakland Slow Streets, was announced by Mayor Libby Schaaf on April 9th and will run through at least May 3rd. The initiative started with closing the streets in four areas and will increase the number of closures over the coming weeks. Most of the street closures follow existing popular biking and walking routes.
The streets will still be open to residential and emergency traffic but aim to make more space for residents to safely walk, bike, and run. Although the city has been under a shelter in place order since March 31, regular exercise has been listed as an essential activity by city officials. Officials are urging residents to continue to maintain six feet of distance from others and wear masks when venturing outside.
The city has closed major parks and recreation areas leaving more residents reliant on city streets for exercise. Cars are increasingly missing from roads as people shelter in place, so closing them is a logical and functional solution for citizen safety and health.
The total street closures will make up 10 percent of Oakland’s roads, and the city is not alone in implementing the initiative. Boston, Minneapolis, Denver, New York City, and Philadelphia have similar road closures and Montreal is removing parking spaces to make more room for pedestrians and https://www.optimistdaily.com/2020/04/oakland-slow-streets-project-makes-social-distancing-easier/bikers.