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Advocates Adapting Streets to COVID-19
Over the last month, we’ve seen car and truck traffic drop precipitously – often 30-60% or more according to Streetlight Data. At the same time, numerous reports and some data point toward dramatic increases in biking and walking. In hundreds of cities throughout the United States and the world, this has led to new or expanded programs to provide more places where people can safely walk and bike.
This Thursday, the League of American Bicyclists is excited to be joined by three advocates who have worked with their cities to adapt streets to COVID-19 by providing more space places for people to bike and walk.
Please join us Thursday, April 30, at 2 pm ET to hear their stories and learn how their experience may help you adapt streets in your community.
- Randy LoBasso from the Bicycle Coalition of Greater Philadelphia
- Dave Campbell from Bike East Bay in Oakland, CA
- Karen Yacos from Local Motion in Burlington, VT
One of the earliest success stories of adapting streets came out of Philadelphia. On March 20th, MLK Jr. Drive was closed to cars and opened to people. This was less than a week after the City of Philadelphia had restricted business activity and before its current “stay at home” order was in place. The quick response was made possible in part by MLK Jr. Drive’s history of seasonal closures from April to November on weekends. Randy LoBasso from the Bicycle Coalition of Greater Philadelphia will talk about this success and what comes next for the City of Brotherly Love.
One of the most talked about adaptations has been Oakland’s plan to create 74 miles of Slow Streets. Rather than full street closures, Slow Streets have taken the form of signage blocking one lane on two lane roads to show that the street is prioritized for walking, biking, and slow local traffic. So far, ten miles of Slow Streets have been implemented and the city is planning to implement all 74 miles by the summer. Dave Campbell from Bike East Bay will join us to talk about this program and how their volunteers contribute to its success.
One of the few U.S. examples of a new bike lane being implemented as a response to COVID-19 comes from Burlington, VT. By working with both the Vermont Agency of Transportation and the City of Burlington, Local Motion has the tough task of advocating for statewide and local changes. A major success is the planned repurposing of parking on Pine Street through downtown Burlington to a bike lane. This is needed both due to increases in biking and walking, and due to work on a popular parallel trail. Karen Yacos from Local Motion will join us to talk about this temporary bike lane, other state and local changes, and the potential of parklets for further adapting streets.