Major Cities Are Introducing Car Free Zones As Lockdown Measures Are Eased
The coronavirus is going to change the way we live and how we commute around city centers – which seemingly is good news in terms of car free zones, a greater emphasis on walking and cycling, and greener cities.
In London for example, approximately two million were riding the subway every day. But now, following the lockdown and taking into account peoples’ concerns about the transmission of COVID-19 in tightly-packed spaces, many more people are likely to be turning towards private transport. Which could mean more cars on the road.
There will of course be those who may continue to work from home. But it’s still expected that there will be a large influx of workers returning to the city in the upcoming months.
So in order to try and negate congestion, and also to encourage people to rather walk or cycle, London is looking at the possibility of opening a massive car-free zone in the city center.
“We will need many more Londoners to walk and cycle to make this work,” mayor Sadiq Khan said recently. “That’s why these plans will transform parts of central London to create one of the largest car-free areas in any capital city in the world.”
The proposed plan will allow for exceptions. Certain buses, emergency vehicles and vehicles for the disabled will be allowed in the car-free zone.
London is also bringing back and increasing its congestion charge – payable for drivers entering the center city zone. And its also looking at implementing further car free zones in other parts of the sprawling metropolis.
Similar car free zones planned world wide
In Seattle, the city wants to permanently shut 20 miles of streets to most motor vehicles.
Not only that, but the city hopes that residents will actively use these spaces for recreation, such as jogging, cycling and skating for example.
“We’ve witnessed a 57% drop in vehicle traffic volumes accessing downtown Seattle during Governor Inslee’s Stay Healthy, Stay Home order,” the Seattle Department of Transportation 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.”
Again there would be certain exemptions, including for residents, sanitation workers and emergency responders.
Other cities also looking to transform busy roadways into more pedestrian friendly areas include Milan, Berlin, Paris and Brussels.
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