New York City officers Friday cautioned against a proposal to close some streets to car traffic to give New Yorkers more space to stay apart and exercise outdoors during the coronavirus crisis – steps taken by other U.S. and European cities.
The delegates stated street closures and pedestrian-priority streets couldn’t safely and quickly be implemented in a city as dense as New York.
The debate comes as cities around the globe experiment with ways to progressively ease lockdown without compromising safety.
Cities also need to ensure that years of anti-smog policies aren’t reversed as people returning outside the resort to private vehicles in favor of public transit or biking.
In New York City, the epicenter of the U.S. pandemic, officers are concerned that warmer climate and a drop in infections could tempt some of the 8 million residents, many dwelling in small apartments, to flout social distancing guidelines.
On Wednesday, city council members introduced a bill to dedicate 75 miles (120 km) of city streets to pedestrians and cyclists by closing at least one lane to autos, whereas coronavirus restrictions are in place.
Policymakers also referred to as on the town to expand sidewalks and bike lanes. The city in early April cut funding to bicycle lanes as a part of budget reductions.
During an online meeting of the city council’s transportation committee, the Department of Transportation Commissioner Polly Trottenberg said her company supports the principle of opening streets and watched programs by different cities closely.