Denver is closing more streets to cars to make room for more social distancing — for people biking, jogging, and walking. Back in April, the city’s Department of Transportation and Infrastructure (DOTI) temporarily closed some of its streets to thru-traffic. The plan was to allow more space for residents to walk while still keeping their social distancing measures in place.
Really, the ultimate green is spending less time in cars and more time biking and walking. https://t.co/otoVUfHsnm
— Sean Mitchell (@seanmmitchell) May 12, 2020
The city hasn’t given a date as to when these closed roads will be reopened, but Denver Councilman Chris Hinds is advocating for the closures to remain until Labor Day. “We still need to physical distance and our parks are packed already. We don’t need cars on the streets this summer as much as previous summers because we’re telling people to stay at home and telecommute,” he said.
Editor’s note: Whether you are in the Denver area or not, it is an interesting coincidence(?) that one of the streets closed to cars is E. 11th Avenue from Lincoln Street to Humboldt Street, which crosses Corona St.
Other streets transformed to car-free streets are:
Sloan Lake Neighborhood
- Bryon Place from Zenobia Street to Stuart Street
- Stuart Street from 24th Avenue to 21st Avenue
North Capitol Hill/City Park West Neighborhoods
- E. 16th Avenue from Lincoln Street to City Park Esplanade
Denver officials prioritized street closures in areas that don’t have access to parks or trails. A recent survey reflects that many of the residents don’t mind the closure, they prefer it. “Denver Streets Partnerships conducted a survey and found that 90% of the people they surveyed enjoyed the street closures and hope it remains closed,” Hinds said. The city also reported up to four times the normal amount of people biking along the closed roads.
Hinds, who was behind the push to restrict thru-traffic on these roads, sees this as an opportunity for Denver’s citizens to break their dependence on cars. Considering that I’ve grown up without driving, I find the lifestyle easily manageable, especially in the age of Uber and Instacart for shopping at stores that are too far away.
There are more roads slated to close to thru-traffic, providing residents in those areas more free space to get out, bike, or stretch their legs. Perhaps this trend will not only help us embrace walking and biking more during lockdown, but also help contribute to lowering emissions as society gets moving again.
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