ULI’s forthcoming report — Global Innovations for Health, Social Equity, and Sustainability
The Urban Land Institute’s Building Healthy Places Initiative profiled more than 30 approaches to the public realm during the pandemic from around the globe, representing a range of cities—small and large, on different continents, implementing pilot projects or accelerating long-term plans. The examples illuminate how cities can innovate with low-cost, immediately responsive, and creative interventions that promote health and social equity. Several of these examples, spanning four different types of public space projects, are highlighted in this article. The Pandemic and the Public Realm: Global Innovations for Health, Social Equity, and Sustainability is a forthcoming report of ULI
Evaluation of COVID-response Complete Street activation (Toronto’s Destination Danforth)
Destination Danforth is part of a suite of ActiveTO programs designed to support the City of Toronto’s restart and recovery response to COVID-19. These programs are part of a period of unprecedented rapid program implementation and therefore deserve careful evaluation.The evaluation of the Destination Danforth Complete Street installation was conducted by Park People and The Centre for Active Transportation (TCAT) in September/October 2020.
Edmonton’s Shared Streets and Mobility Lanes will be opening again this spring, for people who walk, bike and drive, regardless of how they choose to move around our city!
Vision Zero Street Labs combine the expertise and power of Edmontonians (YOU!) and City of Edmonton staff to quickly and creatively address neighbourhood safety and livability concerns
To learn more about these temporary traffic safety pop ups, visit https://edmonton.ca/safestreets.
Vancouver-based survey to solicit ideas to help make streets for people during COVID-19 recovery.
We are making temporary changes to our streets to help residents physically distance and mitigate the risk of COVID-19 to our communities by:
- Room to Move. Repurposing street space for more walking, rolling, and cycling along Beach Ave.
- Pop-up Plazas. Creating pop-up plazas so people can gather outside
- Temporary Patios. Approving temporary patios so people can dine out and businesses can continue to serve customers
- Sidewalk Widening. Making more room for walking and queuing along busy streets
- Room to Queue. Making more room to line up and board buses at some key bus stops
- Slow Streets. Calming traffic to make ‘slow streets’ more comfortable for people walking, rolling, and cycling
These measures also support our ongoing effort to create safer streets, limit the effects of climate change, and increase social connection between residents. We are monitoring the impacts of these initiatives and getting feedback from the public to understand what could become longer term.
Results from surveys of Montreal’s pedestrian streets and “pandemic tracks” show that residents are in favour
The City conducted a web survey & also randomly interviewed people in the street. The “pandemic tracks”, these protected cycle paths installed on major arteries in the city, have garnered a very high level of support to the tune of 80%+, despite demonstrations by businesses in some spots. The pedestrianization of certain commercial arteries for the summer period was also greatly appreciated, shows the same survey – between 74 to 83%.This includes the allowances made so that restaurant owners could enlarge their terraces to enable more outdoor seating.
Every One Every day provides space, platform & resources to share project or business ideas to make their neighbourhood better.
Every One Every Day builds on the ‘hands on’ projects that people have been creating over the last few years in their own neighbourhoods. These types of projects welcome people from all walks of life.
• Sharing skills, spaces and resources.• Families working and playing more together. • Batch cooking and community meals. • Food growing and tree planting. • Trading, making and repairing.
The team will make things very simple – including:
Find you useful spaces for the projects (kitchens, workshops storage spaces etc.)
Supplying materials and equipment for practical activities – no form filling for grants.
By arranging insurances and health and safety.
Holding festivals, workshops and business programmes.
#RestartSmartVancouver includes additional pop-up plaza and temporary patio applications
This week, Vancouver unveiled their latest pop-up plazas, approved additional patio permits, and rolled out temporary changes to Granville Street.
The Federation of Canadian Municipalities (FCM) and the Urban Project developed a street rebalancing guide to help communities re-open safely.
The COVID-19 Street Rebalancing Guide is for decision-makers and practitioners alike. Drawing on case studies from around the world, it offers strategies and practical guidance on rebalancing streets through three phases of COVID-19 response—from immediate to longer-term—including pedestrian and bike lanes, curbside queuing areas, and temporary patios and parklets. This is a unique opportunity to spark projects with transformative value. Temporary measures can be deployed quickly to address long-standing gaps—demonstrating value, building support for permanent installations, and providing a foundation for more walkable, livable cities across Canada.
The City of Victoria’s move to allow businesses to build patios on street “flex spaces” may continue past the pandemic.
Victoria’s downtown business association says it will be a key to keep the dollars tourists usually bring flowing. And that the impact will be far beyond just those with patios.
The City of Oakland ‘s Slow Streets initiative starts with places that are on the City’s High Injury Network, the 6% of streets that account for 60+% of severe/fatal crashes. Listening & adjusting are built into the process
This new iteration of Slow Streets is driven by community feedback and advocacy, especially from East Oaklanders. While the Oakland Slow Streets program overall continues to receive overwhelming support among community survey respondents, those responding to surveys are more likely to be white, have high incomes and live in North Oakland. Data from Alameda County Public Health Department’s COVID-19 dashboard indicates that East Oaklanders and people of color are more likely to suffer harm from this pandemic. The City of Oakland Department of Transportation (OakDOT) has prioritized collaborative meetings and discussions with community groups, especially those representing residents in East Oakland.
Patios Everywhere program will help local restaurants reopen safely in Barrie
This program is in response to the COVID-19 pandemic and will support local restaurants by providing flexibility to restaurant owners while at the same time ensuring safety standards and measures remain in place. The Patios Everywhere Program is intended to address patios that are outside of the downtown Business Improvement Area (BIA).
Nanaimo approves on-street patios, sidewalk seating
Nanaimo councillors agreed to reallocate $25,000 from the city’s downtown event grants budget toward the program.
Vancouver City Council has directed city staff to reallocate at least 11% of existing road space (220 km)
All of this is in addition to the 50 km of temporary “slow streets” that will be created by July that benefit pedestrians and cyclists. A number of cities around the world have also made ambitious road reallocation changes that either create “slow streets” or establish new bike lanes.
Halifax Mobility Response – Streets and Spaces
The first phase of the Halifax Mobility Response plan began with the widening of sidewalks in high traffic areas, traffic signal modification and the implementation of temporary loading spaces for businesses in downtown Halifax and Dartmouth. Slow Street Implementation: Approximately 20 streets will be designated as ‘slow streets’. They will be open to local traffic only, to reduce vehicle volumes and to create a space for residents to walk, roll and cycle while adhering to physical distancing guidelines. Shape Your City Halifax project page has been created to provide residents with an opportunity to share suggestions
NACTO develops Playbook to make public space as safe as possible during the pandemic
Streets for Pandemic Response and Recovery includes an introduction to using streets for recovery and response (pdf) and detailed implementation information about the following street strategies:
- Lanes for Biking & Rolling (pdf)
- Sidewalk Extensions (pdf)
- Transit Lanes (pdf)
- Slow Streets (pdf)
- Pick-Up & Delivery Zones (pdf)
- Outdoor Dining (pdf)
- Markets (pdf)
Note: Individual PDFs coming soon
Reimagining the use of public space during pandemic in Montreal
The movement to take back Montreal’s streets for pedestrians during this time of social distancing is spreading rapidly across the city. From full-on car-free zones to family streets to superblocks, Montreal, like many cities around the world, is reimagining the use of public space during this pandemic at an unprecedented pace.
Calgary to allow shops, restaurants to expand patios to allow for more social distancing during COVID-19 pandemic
Canada Bikes’ crowd-sourced google spreadsheet details COVID19 bike/pedestrian responses across Canadian cities
Categories being tracked include: are bicycle shops an essential service; are beg buttons disabled; partial closures; closed streets; distance and transit-oriented development.
City of Brampton implements interim bike lanes to promote safe active transportation opportunities
These sections of road are a part of the planned East-West Cycling Corridor connection as proposed in the Active Transportation Master Plan. The City is working to implement permanent protected bike lanes on these streets in line with the Brampton 2040 Vision and the Streets for People Term of Council Priority.
Ottawa’s National Capital Region piloting project to close roads to traffic to enable physical distancing
To enable physical distancing for residents who live in the dense surrounding areas, the City is closing the Queen Elizabeth Driveway to motor vehicle traffic, daily from 8am-8pm, from April 18 to 26, 2020.
Ottawa closes stretches of Bank Street, Rideau Canal driveway to vehicles
After weeks of lobbying, and examples set in Montreal and other cities, officials are moving to “pedestrianize” some of Ottawa’s streets for people out on essential trips. That should include bikes and all sorts of active transportation.
Some New Westminster roads being reallocated to provide social distancing for pedestrians
Studying pinch points, the City is studying the situation and acting to “ensure people have safe spaces to walk and cycle – away from motor vehicles while also allowing social distancing to occur,”
Ottawa adjusts traffic signals as traffic volume drops by 50% during COVID-19 pandemic
The City of Ottawa tells CTV News Ottawa that traffic, pedestrian and cycling signals have been adjusted to reflect the decrease in vehicular traffic on the roads.
Edmonton making more room for pedestrians on two roads, eliminating beg buttons at 56 intersections
Two busy roadways in Edmonton’s river valley will open to pedestrians and cyclists Thursday to allow them to meet COVID-19 physical distancing requirements. The city will be also deactivating beg buttons at 56 intersections in the city’s core so pedestrians don’t have to press a frequently-touched button to cross the street.
City of Victoria restricting vehicle access and realigning parking along several streets to improve physical separation for cyclists and pedestrians
These interventions will free up space inside Beacon Hill Park and in constricted areas along Dallas Road so local residents can stay active, while also maintaining physical distance. City staff will be out in public spaces to engage with residents about playground and recreation facility closures and to encourage physical distancing.
Montreal closing streets to cars, but increasing policing to enforce physical distancing
Montrealers need access to green space, but are encouraged to go to parks in their own neighbourhoods, not travelling across the city to visit other parks. Parking lots in Mount Royal Park were closed this week to limit traffic, and Île Notre-Dame has also been closed altogether. These types of measures will continue, and even more will be put in place in other, popular destinations like the Lachine Canal, which has been extremely crowded.
City of London, ON closes streets/bridges to cars to give cyclists & pedestrians more space
City officials say they want to make it easier for pedestrians to follow physical distancing guidelines of at least two metres from others. The city hopes closing some streets and bridges to cars will provide more space for people walking and biking at these locations. Parks, green spaces, trails and pathways remain open for walk-through only. The city says it will be actively monitoring outdoor spaces
City of Winnipeg to open its four active transportation routes for pedestrians & cyclists to allow physical distancing space
The City of Winnipeg is opening up its annual active transportation routes for pedestrians and cyclists, though the routes will be monitored to ensure Winnipeggers are practising physical distancing to fight the spread of COVID-19. Routes will limit vehicle traffic to one block from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. every day until May 3
Winnipeg expanding bicycle and active transportation routes in an effort to help with social distancing requirements
Four streets have limited motor vehicle traffic to just one block throughout the designated area and are normally in place only on Sundays from June to September.