In a bid to promote social distancing, ‘slow streets’ have been introduced in L.A. neighborhoods.
Last weekend, Mayor Eric Garcetti announced that streets would temporarily restrict traffic to promote social distancing while spending time outdoors.
“Tonight, I can announce the full launch of our slow streets program,” he said in a press conference. “This is an exciting moment for us to have a little bit of space in our neighborhoods, to do what we’re already doing: walking,” he added.
The first phase of the program was initiated in the Del Rey and Sawtelle neighborhoods in April and will cover at least 7 miles of streets in West Los Angeles.
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 can be a bit of a social distancing minefield.
The program would see signs and temporary barriers put in place that would either allow less traffic, slower speeds, or no traffic at all—this would not apply to resident drivers, delivery drivers, emergency vehicles, or another essential workforce. Main traffic thoroughfares are not included in this program, it’s currently only for residential areas.
The space on the streets could be opened up for skaters, cyclists, scooters, dog-walkers, and joggers, also allowing those without cars to access essential services with adequate physical distance. It could even pave the way for future ideas on city planning.
However, it is not intended to inspire community street parties. Residential areas with this in place will need to abide by COVID-19 health and safety guidelines.
Applications for slow streets can be made on LADOT’s website but will require a neighborhood council or city councilmember’s office to sign off on it to confirm broader community support. The organization is also requesting feedback around the new program to find out whether it’s working effectively or not.
According to LADOT spokesperson Colin Sweeney, this will also be limited to 2 miles of street per community.
— LADOT (@LADOTofficial) May 16, 2020
Additionally, the mayor has also extended relaxed parking enforcement until June 1 and temporary pick up parking zones program has been expanded for retailers affected by COVID-19.
Featured Image: Jack Finnigan