Salt Lake City Considers Opening Roads To Pedestrians, Bikes To Aid Social Distancing

Apr 14, 2020, 5:25 AM | Updated: 5:28 am

SALT LAKE CITY, Utah — With many people heading outdoors for a respite from COVID-19 pandemic stay-at-home orders, city leaders were looking Monday at a new way to help residents maintain social distance while on excursions outside.

The city introduced a survey to help determine which streets should possibly be opened to pedestrians and cyclists.

“The survey is asking people to choose their top three and what will come of it is yet to be determined based on the survey results that we receive,” said Salt Lake City Mayor Erin Mendenhall. “It’s just something we want to ask our residents—are you interested in seeing us open up two or three of our streets for pedestrian traffic scooter and bikes and basically consolidating truck or vehicle traffic to local traffic only?”

Several streets were highlighted in the survey as initial candidates, including sections of 600 East, 800 East, 500 North, 4th Avenue, Kensington Avenue as well as more than a dozen other roads.

“Whether it’s at Liberty Park or neighborhood parks, we’re seeing quite a bit of congestion and obvious demand for open space and parks systems,” Mendenhall said. “With the increased demand in our parks system, we’re looking at how to make more options for people to spread out and still get out.”

Mendenhall said the city’s departments had been scouring the country looking for best practices and the transportation division came across the idea from something similar taking place in New York.

She said the survey would be open until midnight Sunday and changes could come to selected streets possibly as early as next week.

Kenya Cramer, who was walking along 600 East north of Liberty Park Monday evening, said she liked the idea.

“Having this hour of just being outside for a little bit has been my sanity,” Cramer said. “It’s just been nice to feel like my house is not the whole world—remember there is something else right now.”

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Salt Lake City Considers Opening Roads To Pedestrians, Bikes To Aid Social Distancing