Advocacy Creating Streets for People During Shelter in Place

Photo: One of Oakland’s “Slow Streets” (OakDOT)

Earlier this month, we wrote about the unique opportunity during Shelter in Place to reimagine streets as places for people, rather than cars, which is especially important in a time when people need places to walk and bike while keeping distance from one another. We have since shared the following message with Marin’s elected officials, agency staff, and Bicycle/Pedestrian Advisory Committees:

Now, more than ever, people need safe, accessible places to exercise, move around, and get fresh air.

Cities around the world–including several in the Bay Area–are currently exploring ways to create more room for people to walk, bike, and jog while keeping safe distance from each other. Fortunately, thanks to an unprecedented reduction in vehicle traffic during the Shelter in Place Order, ample roadway space is available to repurpose for people seeking physical activity.

Marin County Bicycle Coalition encourages you to consider how your community might benefit from temporary street closures or reconfigurations to create safe, accessible places to exercise.

Roadways you might consider closing to through traffic* or reconfiguring to create more space for people on foot and/or bike include:

  • Neighborhood / side streets (especially along existing bike routes)

  • Popular recreational corridors, such as roads to and through parks or along waterfronts

  • Streets parallel to busy multi-use pathways (to help relieve crowding)

  • Busy streets without parallel alternatives

*Streets closed to through traffic are not closed to emergency vehicles or local traffic that must use the street to access a final destination. Drivers using the streets will be reminded by signage to drive slowly and expect to share the roadway with people on foot and bike.

Cities like Oakland, which recently closed 74 miles of streets to through traffic, have already shown how to get the job done quickly and cheaply, with little more than signage and cones.

MCBC is closely monitoring best practices and stands ready to assist your community in identifying and implementing street closures or reconfigurations. Please reach out to us if you’d like to brainstorm how and where to repurpose streets to encourage safe physical activity.

Share your ideas!

Where in Marin would you like to see streets closed or reconfigured to create more space for people on foot or bike?

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