And should it stay that way after lockdown ends?
With the rising unemployment and enforced business closures, the traffic has almost dissipated—at least compared to the usual gridlocked roads of L.A. While on some level it is sad to see the city close, does it pose an opportunity for walking space in some streets to be increased?
Beaches, trails and many parks have closed. In order to get fresh air, residents need to use sidewalks while maintaining 6 feet at all times. This can create awkward situations when venturing outdoors. From baby stroller stand-offs to dodging cyclists and speeding cars, going outside has become a social distancing minefield.
So, what are the options? Del Rey Neighborhood Council put forward an easy solution to this, which is to simply close off streets to cars. Last week Councilman Mike Bonin asked the Department of Transportation to work with his office in support of the proposal. The plans would take inspiration from the “slow streets” which are currently in place in Oakland and Minneapolis. Changes could range from closing roads off to vehicles entirely or closing off a few lanes.
The space on the streets could be opened up for skaters, cyclists, scooters, dog-walkers and joggers, allowing those without cars to access essential services with adequate physical distance. It could even pave the way for future ideas on city planning.
Holding on to those crystal clear skies and kissing the smog goodbye for good might be a possibility after all.
Featured image: Brian Miller