GObike Provides Municipal Guidance on Recommended Infrastructure Interventions During COVID-19 Pandemic for Public Health and Safety
Additional street and park space are necessary to help residents follow social distancing recommendations during active transportation and recreation.
GObike is working with local municipalities to implement infrastructure interventions to help residents maintain social distancing during essential transportation and recreation.
With many recreational activities limited due to the pandemic, our streets and parks are becoming over-stressed and over-crowded with recreational visitors. Conversely, street space needed for commutes and transporting students has lessened; instead, urban residents need increased space to play, exercise, and support mental health. Temporary infrastructure interventions like restricting motor vehicle access on select streets and thru-roads, and pop-up pedestrian and bicycle infrastructure can increase space for active transportation and recreation during the pandemic.
In the City of Buffalo, Mayor Byron Brown has closed Delaware Park’s Ring Road to motor vehicle traffic to create more space for walking and biking, with additional changes expected to meet demand.
Additional infrastructure interventions are necessary to allow the continued operation of parks, greenspaces, and multi-use trails while following current social distancing recommendations.
“With warmer spring days, our open spaces and parks are critical to public health. The mayor’s work to provide new safety measures in Delaware Park to promote park-use while maintaining social distance is appreciated,” said Delaware District Councilmember Joel Feroleto.
“Remaining physically active will help our resiliency in our mental and physical health in this difficult time. But much of our infrastructure–including bike lanes, sidewalks and park paths–currently does not have the width or capacity to allow safe social distancing to be practiced. By temporarily increasing the space available for walking and biking, we can allow residents to continue to meet transportation needs and engage in active recreation while limiting the spread of COVID-19,” said Justin Booth, executive director of GObike. “Equitable infrastructure interventions can also create temporary play and park space for residents in neighborhoods with limited access to parks and recreation opportunities.”
Since 2017, GObike has been working with local community groups and municipalities to implement infrastructure interventions to improve active transportation access. To date, GObike has completed pop-up projects in 31 neighborhoods, with 434 elements, including protected bike lanes, curb bump-outs, crosswalks, and bike infrastructure refreshes.
GObike developed municipal recommendations for infrastructure interventions based on previous success in local communities and methodologies used in cities like New York City, Philadelphia, and Denver, who have made temporary street closures to improve access.
Our recommendations include:
- To allow safe social distancing in recreation:
- Make more space available in existing parks by closing roads in and through parks to vehicular traffic while adjusting parking regulations to accommodate those accessing the parks by car;
- Create additional capacity for passive recreation with open streets at peak times by creating car-free zones on highly-used streets to dedicate to recreation; and
- Create open streets loops within neighborhoods to ensure equitable access to recreation for residents with immediate park access.
To allow safe social distancing for active transportation:
- Reduce underused car lanes on arterial roads and parkways to dedicate space to people; and
- Expand and implement strategic connections for necessary trips using pop-up interventions such as temporary bike lanes, signal timing changes, and other changes to intersections to make it easier for pedestrians and cyclists to cross streets safely.
A full list of recommendations can be accessed on our website.