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COVID-19 CYCLING SURGE IN CITIES COULD PROMPT LASTING CHANGE
-> Smart Cities Dive reported physical distancing appears to have sparked an explosion in cycling as city residents seek alternative transportation modes to stay mobile and active. Now, US city leaders are exploring plans to make cycling safer in the short term by closing streets to vehicles, and maintain interest in the activity once the novel coronavirus subsides. In a global first, New Zealand is funding cities' "pop-up" bike lanes and sidewalk widening projects (https://bit.ly/2y997cP). While manual counting of cyclists was suspended due to the coronavirus, data shows that trails are becoming crowded. In a two-week period in early March, counters found that biking on one particular trail by the Schuylkill River in Philadelphia was up 470% compared to the same period a year earlier. https://bit.ly/3bOn0vI

LOCAL WALKING & CYCLING ACTIONS DURING PHYSICAL DISTANCING
-> The Pedestrian and Bicycle Information Center has begun tracking community action in the US and internationally to respond to changing demands on public space as a result of COVID-19. (Local Actions to Support Walking and Cycling During Social Distancing Dataset: https://bit.ly/3aMWTDSSW) This reference offers examples of how communities are creating safe biking and walking spaces for physical distancing. This open-access dataset invites people to submit information about their communities' efforts to rebalance streets for walking, biking, and other forms of travel while promoting physical distancing: https://bit.ly/3bOAoQf. PBIC also invites people to add photographs to its open-source Pedestrian and Bicycle Image Library: https://bit.ly/2hzYgk4

OAKLAND, CA: RESTRICTS DRIVERS ON 10% OF STREETS
-> CityLab and The Guardian reported that as cities experiment with car restrictions in the coronavirus pandemic, Oakland, CA's plan to discourage drivers is the most extensive. To create more outdoor space and safer corridors for essential travel by foot or bike, the city would restrict access to vehicles on nearly 74 miles of city street -- about 10% of the city's street network. (Oakland Virtual Town Hall announcement, at 1:12:30: https://bit.ly/3bLlVos) The "slow streets" initiative, which began earlier this month and will roll out in four segments through the duration of the coronavirus emergency, comes in response to citizen concerns about overcrowded conditions in parks and on sidewalks during the coronavirus lockdown. (Slow Streets Map and details: https://bit.ly/35lC01B) Emergency vehicles like police cars, fire trucks and ambulances are still permitted to enter these new pedestrian corridors, as are delivery vehicles and residential traffic. No drivers will be ticketed if they do drive on these streets. https://bit.ly/2KIQe38 and https://bit.ly/2ShHKUF

NEW YORK CITY TO OPEN 100 MI. OF STREETS FOR PHYSICAL DISTANCING
-> To provide more space for residents to physically distance, the City of New York announced plans to implement at least 40 miles of street closures, sidewalk widening, and additional bike lanes over the next month -- with a goal of implementing 100 miles, focusing on communities hardest hit by the pandemic. The open streets will be sourced from five broad categories: up to 60 miles of streets within and adjacent to parks; up to 20 miles of streets identified in consultation with local precincts, in consultation with Community Boards and other partners; up to 10 miles of streets managed by local partners such as BIDs, block associations, or other civic groups; up to 2.5 miles of widened sidewalks; and up to 10 miles of protected bike lanes. https://on.nyc.gov/2SkcF2N

CA: COVID-19 CRASHES & TRAFFIC DOWN 50%, SAVING $40M/DAY
-> UC Davis News and Media Relations reported traffic crashes and crash-related injuries and deaths were reduced by half during the first three weeks of California's shelter-in-place order, which began March 20. The reductions save the state an estimated $40 million per day -- about $1 billion over the time period -- according to an updated special report released this week from the Road Ecology Center at the University of California, Davis. (Special Report (Update): Impact of COVID-19 on California Traffic Crashes: https://bit.ly/2Sm34sq) In parallel with the more than 50% reduction in traffic collisions and related injuries and deaths came a 55% reduction in traffic on some highways. https://bit.ly/2SjAI1J

MA VISION ZERO COALITION KEEPING PEOPLE ON ESSENTIAL TRIPS SAFE DURING COVID-19
-> WalkBoston reported that with their partners from the MA Vision Zero Coalition, they released a statement about keeping people safe while making essential trips during the COVID-19 Crisis. (Keeping People safe While Making Essential Trips During COVID-19 Crisis: https://bit.ly/2y9qABX) The statement calls on Governor Baker and MA city and town leaders to make it safer for residents to take essential trips via 5 recommendations, including repurposing vehicle travel or parking lanes to provide residents with access to space for physical distancing; and in more dense communities, issue a speed reduction advisory to 20 mph on local streets and make public announcements to residents that every street is considered a shared street.

STATE DOTS COMBAT COVID-19 SPEEDING
-> The AASHTO Journal reported the CA DOT (Caldrons) and NE DOTs are working with their respective state law enforcement agencies to find ways to head off a spike in excessive speeding incidents -- a spike that coincides with decreased traffic volumes caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. Caltrans is working with the CA Highway Patrol and the CA Office of Traffic Safety to find ways to get motorists to slow down given a recent 87% spike in citations for speeding in excess of 100 mph despite a 35% decline in traffic volume. Other states are also experiencing similar jumps in excessive speeding violations. https://bit.ly/2yJRK2o

HUGE INCREASES IN EAST COAST GREENWAY TRAIL USE
-> The East Coast Greenway reported people are flooding greenways and trails across the country during the COVID-19 pandemic. For instance, a recent Connecticut Trail Census found that more than half of the trails recorded an increase of greater than 100% in use, compared to March 2019. (https://bit.ly/3f2O6Bp) Among them were three East Coast Greenway segments each reporting an increase of more than 166%. Use of the Back Cove Trail in Portland, ME, tripled from March 2019 to March 2020. In Philadelphia, the Delaware River Trail saw a 107% jump and the popular Schuylkill Banks Trail witnessed a 58% increase in usage over the same time period. (https://bit.ly/2YaTJqZ) Richmond, Virginia's WWBT-TV reports the Virginia Capital Trail experienced a 65% increase over March 2019. (https://bit.ly/2Ydi13t) https://bit.ly/3eLrDsr The East Coast Greenway proposes a Greenway Stimulus of more than $400 million in shovel-ready projects along its 15-state route. https://bit.ly/2SeQtqH