So many of us are living in varying states of physical distancing guidelines around the world right now. It can be really challenging to be stuck inside most of the time unless you're performing an essential -- and therefore inherently risky -- job. While it's so important for each of us to do our part to slow the spread of the virus by staying inside, never leaving our homes can also be detrimental. Many of us have found that spending a little time safely outside each day has greatly benefited our mental health. The problem in big cities is that it can be hard to both spend time outside AND keep ourselves physically distanced from others. The solution is to create more pedestrian spaces while many industries are closed!
Sign now if you'd like to see more cities shut down roads to make more space for people to safely enjoy the outdoors!
In some cities, like Chicago, some of the biggest parks like the lakefront trail have been shut down to stop people from congregating there. But cities wouldn't need to shut down parks if there were enough space in existing parks to safely be outside and stay 6 feet away from one another. Luckily, there's a solution in plain sight: since so many people are staying home, many roads are pretty much deserted. In downtown Chicago, for example, residents recently spotted a coyote freely and happily wandering Michigan Avenue because there is so little traffic. So why not take advantage of that fact and allow people to freely walk, bike, roller blade and more in the streets?
Many European cities have done just this and the response has been overwhelmingly positive! Pedestrians and cyclists are enjoying the new space while simultaneously staying far enough away from one another to stop the spread of the coronavirus.
Opening up streets in big cities for pedestrians will greatly benefit residents' mental health and physical safety -- which will, in turn, give us all the emotional strength we need to get through the long haul of this pandemic-related shut down. The solution is clear: let's do it!