Some cities shut down streets for pedestrians and other uses during the pandemic. A new study looks at whether people are using them.
In the nearly eight months since the coronavirus pandemic hit the United States, cities across the county have closed roads. Also extended bike lanes and turned parking spaces into dining spots as a way to give Americans more space to move around safely during the health crisis.
Now, with the pandemic stretching on and many cities considering extending those closures through the winter. And a new research offers some indication of how the spaces are being used.
The study, by the traffic analytics firm Inrix, looked at five cities: Washington, New York, Minneapolis, Seattle and Oakland, Calif. It found that in general, traffic volumes on the restricted streets — whether pedestrian, bike or car — remained well below pre-pandemic levels. And its a finding that is not surprising considering that overall traffic is down, as well. As traffic volumes began to increase amid states reopening, so did activity levels on the restricted streets.
Cities that created larger and well-connected networks of slow streets, geared toward recreation. Examples such as in Minneapolis, saw higher numbers of people using the facilities, Inrix found.
Protected bike lanes built for commuting in New York didn’t attract as many commuters because fewer people were commuting. But there are indications of activity picking up in the open-street restaurants and even more on the recreation-focused streets, said Bob Pishue, an Inrix transportation analyst.
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Compiled by MK – (Editor)