ITE Journal - July 2020 - 21

City of Oakland

Oakland rolled out its Slow Streets program in early April and by the beginning of June 2020 had installed 20 miles of Slow Streets along 19
corridors. Oakland has stated that "any potential installation of new Slow Streets would be the result of extensive community engagement in
low-income communities and communities of color."

While COVID-19 has also exacerbated a number of
pre-existing challenges and inequities in our country,
the pandemic has also presented an opportunity to
rethink the way we shape and build our communities.
Cities respond rapidly. Some cities quickly
responded by opening streets to people (and closing
them to cars), extending sidewalks, and building temporary bike lanes. For example, Oakland, CA, USA rolled
out its Slow Streets program in early April. By June, the
city had installed 20 miles of slow streets along 19 corridors. Seattle, WA, USA, which has seen a 57 percent
drop in vehicle traffic volumes accessing downtown
areas, is adjusting its signal timing to give more time for
pedestrians to cross streets and permanently closed 20
miles (32 kilometers [km]) of its neighborhood streets
to cars.8 To the south, Bogota, Columbia, just announced
building an additional 50 miles (80.5 km) of bike lanes,
in addition to the 300 existing miles (482 km).9
Open Streets, in particular, have received mixed
reviews by community-based organizations throughout
the United States. While organizations are supportive of
reclaiming space for people, many advocates have highlighted concerns about whether cities are implementing
Open Streets equitably throughout their communities,
whether people of all races feel safe in Open Streets, how
the cities are engaging with their residents to plan and
implement the streets closures, and whether the street
closures are helping essential workers actually access

their jobs and healthcare, or whether they are just for
people to recreate.
How cities implement Open Streets, slow streets,
and other transportation adjustments will be critical for building support for active transportation
now and in the future. For example, transportation
professionals should:
*		 Ensure the temporary projects help provide
people who are walking, biking, rolling, and
taking transit, with access to jobs, healthcare,
and other essentials services-especially in
communities that have experienced historic
disinvestments.
*		 Make sure that all projects, temporary and permanent, are helping frontline workers access their jobs.
*		 Allocate transportation resources and infrastructure equitably, not just to communities who are
speaking the loudest.
*		 Work with artists and designers to make improvements, such as the installation of bike lanes
and widening of sidewalks to allow for physical
distancing, high quality and easy to understand
(while considering budgets) so that people have a
positive experience with the changes.
*		 Employ COVID-19 transportation demonstration
projects as communication tools, where cities
can explain what it means to bring more active
transportation to their neighborhood.
w w w .i t e.or g

J u ly 2020

21


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ITE Journal - July 2020

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of ITE Journal - July 2020

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