This neighborhood is closing 32 kilometers of street so people can jog and bike

Residents living in Seattle will have more space to jog and bike on as the city plans to permanently close 20 miles (about 32 kilometers) of streets to most vehicular traffic, the mayor announced Thursday.

bike street

The Stay Healthy Streets initiative started in April to temporarily provide more space for residents to get out of the house and exercise while maintaining social distancing during the pandemic. Seattle Mayor Jenny A. Durkan said Thursday that the closures will be permanent.

“We are in a marathon and not a sprint in our fight against COVID-19. As we assess how to make the changes that have kept us safe and healthy sustainable for the long term, we must ensure Seattle is rebuilding better than before. Safe and Healthy Streets are an important tool for families in our neighborhoods to get outside, get some exercise, and enjoy the nice weather. Over the long term, these streets will become treasured assets in our neighborhoods,” said Mayor Durkan.

People are encouraged to skate, walk, jog, bike and roll down the closed streets. Only vehicular traffic from delivery drivers, first responders, sanitation crews, and residents are allowed access.

“Just like we must each adapt to a new normal going forward, so, too, must our city and the ways in which we get around. That is why we’re announcing a nimble, creative approach towards rapidly investing in a network of places for people walking and people biking of all ages and abilities and thinking differently about our traffic signals that make pedestrians a greater priority. Despite the many challenges we face, 2020 will remain a year of thoughtful, forward progress as we build a safer, more livable Seattle for all  ” said Sam Zimbabwe, Seattle Department of Transportation Director.

“We’ve witnessed a 57% drop in vehicle traffic volumes accessing downtown Seattle during Governor Inslee’s Stay Healthy, Stay Home order,” SDOT said in a news release. “Finding new and creative ways, like Stay Healthy Streets, to maintain some of these traffic reductions as we return to our new normal is good for the planet, but is also good for our long-term fight against COVID-19.”

The city also announced it will accelerate the construction of bike infrastructure to provide more mobility options for residents as Seattle begins the process of reopening.

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