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Coalition urges ‘Slow Streets’ initiative

Tuesday, April 28, 2020 by Tai Moses

A coalition of over 30 organizations is urging the city to launch a “Slow Streets” initiative that would restrict vehicles in certain areas in order to create outdoor space that is safer for foot and bike travel, help reduce crowded sidewalks and allow people to maintain social distancing while outdoors. The new pedestrian corridors would still be open to emergency vehicles, delivery drivers and some residential traffic. Adam Greenfield, the board president of Walk Austin, said in a news release, “We need Slow Streets now. By allowing people to exercise safely near home, this crucial measure will mitigate public mental and physical impacts, reduce potential virus transmission, relieve pressure on parks and trails, and increase community resilience.” Joanna Wolaver, the board president of Austin Outside, added, “Communities know their streets best so we’re inviting the public to help roll this out quickly and successfully by showing support and by nominating neighborhood streets as potential Slow Streets.” The online petition begins, “I urge the city of Austin to immediately create an emergency ‘Slow Streets’ program across Austin to enable safe exercise during the Covid-19 pandemic. This program will prioritize safe, socially distanced walking and bicycling on non-arterial, non-transit neighborhood streets in all City Council districts while still allowing access for local traffic.”

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