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.
Transforming a Restaurant into an Outdoor Market using simple furniture designs
A restaurant in Dallas is coping with the pandemic by leveraging Better Block’s approach to adaptive urbanism. The Better Block crew had constructed several wooden market stalls that were going to be used for a pop-up outdoor market in the Allen project. Now, they’ve used them to turn Oddfellows into an actual outdoor market, stocking the shelves with the restaurant’s stock and selling neighbors staples that may be difficult to find at the stores that remain open.
The City of Vancouver launches its Temporary Expedited Patio Program
This free program will allow restaurants and liquor-serving establishments to create temporary patios on streets, on-street parking spaces, or sidewalks either in front of or adjacent to their venues.To hasten the process, template patio drawings are being offered and a staff team has been dedicated to reviewing the applications. Permits will be issued within two business days for applications that meet requirements.
Toronto’s ‘rescue operation’ for restaurants includes fast-tracked approvals, more space for patio dining
Called “CafeTO”, the city program is identifying sidewalk and right-of-way space, including “parklets,” adjacent to bars and restaurants that can be made available for outdoor dining with physical distancing to ensure minimal chance of virus infection. The normal patio approval process will be dramatically streamlined, city council will be asked to waive fees, and the Ontario government is agreeing to help quickly address any liquor licensing issues
Montréal is creating a pool of Montreal designers and architects to design and implement temporary urban development projects for commercial streets.
Selecting a group of qualified and competent bidders will thus allow the city to be more agile in awarding professional service contracts by mutual agreement. In this way, boroughs and city departments as well as the Sociétés de développement commercial will be able to call on pre-qualified teams to design and implement measures that address their issues, such as modified routes and user mobility, safe boarding and disembarking of public transit users, waiting lines for businesses, outdoor sales and consumption areas, functional and technical pickup and delivery spaces, rest areas and street furniture (e.g., washrooms, benches, no-contact garbage receptacles). Given the experimental nature of the temporary development projects both currently underway and to come, it is important to make good use of a range or high-performance solutions that can be deployed throughout the city
Architecture Without Borders Québec providing technical support to Montréal businesses to adapt to physical distancing/health measures
With funding from the City, the organization will assist more than one hundred merchants in need with help adapting their establishments to comply with social distancing and health measures issued by public health authorities. The ASFQ will also produce a commercial adaptation guide, slated for release in June. Until October, a team of professionals will lend a hand by carrying out health audits and adaptations for small independent businesses in order to reduce the risks of spreading COVID-19.
The City of Portland is launching innovative and transformative street-related policies to use street space for people — and less for drivers and their cars —to help businesses survive.
The Portland Bureau of Transportation will allow local business owners to apply for permits so they can offer food and other services in the public right-of-way. This goes far beyond a simple sidewalk dining permit and is expected to fast-track a host of new possibilities like customer queuing zones in what used to be parking spaces and dining tables and barber chairs in streets and parking lots.
Design for Distancing is a Baltimore Development Corporation initiative to solicit creative ideas for businesses to reopen safely.
Three components to this initiative:
- What are smart ways for people to line up for carry-out, attend farmer’s markets, or wait outside of salons, laundromats, and banks? With social distancing in mind and using the best practices from Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, share your innovative solutions
- Winning designs will be included in the Design For Distancing Guidebook, a free, shareable, online resource. Businesses, cities, and citizens around the world can all look here for inspiration on how to improve their own space.
- Over a dozen Baltimore City Districts will enjoy custom solutions pulled from the Guidebook. Design-build teams will be awarded a $10,000 design stipend to work with local main streets to implement plans in July. Winning designers may participate in the physical implementation, but are not required to do so
Downtown Regina BIA has created colourful and communicative downloadable posters for businesses to put up
These posters are meant to be put up in downtown shops to communicate in a friendly way physical distancing rules, how many people allowed in a store at one time, and other changes that are in effect during COVID19 times.
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.
The City of Edmonton has developed simplified guidelines for temporary patios, sidewalk cafes and outdoor retail spaces for businesses, along with a simple, no-fee form to register
Rules around temporary patios, sidewalk cafes and outdoor retail expansions are relaxed to create more space for customers in alignment with Alberta Health Services (AHS) guidelines. Until the end of 2020, businesses have the option to expand patio or retail space by following a set of guidelines and signing a declaration form.
A Business Improvement Area (BIA) is giving out PPE to member businesses to help keep staff & customers safe
Grimsby’s Downtown Improvement Area (DIA) board – with support from the Town of Grimsby –is helping frontline staff. Every business in the DIA area will receive two face shields – with an option to acquire more – to help with employee and customer safety. These shields were made by a local retooled business
Downtown Moncton Centre-ville Inc. launches Covid-19 Re-Start Grant Program
This grant will support the purchase of required safety equipment which must be installed prior to re-opening. Businesses can apply to receive a maximum of $500. Under the program, only commercial property and business owners within the Business Improvement Area (BIA) will be considered.
City of Barrie will help restaurants with distancing by converting parking spaces to patios
The Mayor suggests that temporary seating areas could become permanent, creating more animated spaces throughout the City. If this pilot program is successful, it can be part of building more people-oriented public spaces.
Slider device allows businesses and customers to interact safely during pandemic
The simple device from a small Coquitlam fabrication company enables two people to carry out a transaction two metres apart.
Charlottetown outreach facility relocates to allow increased capacity for vulnerable community members
The Community Outreach Centre has moved its operations to a local school’s gymnasium for the purpose of enhancing its capacity to provide vulnerable residents with services such as counselling, shower access and laundry facilities under the new health regulations of social distancing.
Brampton bans garage sales in latest move to curb spread of coronavirus
The City did not provide a timeline for when yard sales and other activities like farmers markets might be allowed again. City facilities such as recreation centres, parks outside of trails and city hall have been shuttered since early March and all city events have been cancelled until at least July 2.
New Brunswick is using ‘household bubbles’ to socialize amid COVID-19
The introduction of ‘household bubbles’ allows a family in one house to choose one other household to spend time with, assuming that both agree to the arrangement and don’t have close contact with anyone else.
A Toronto-based consultancy has built a visualization of sidewalk widths in Toronto to support decisions and data around social distancing
Created by Ratio.City, an organization with a mission to gather this data and provide the analysis that will unlock the potential of cities around the world.
City of Timmins to deploy bylaw officers at grocery stores
After a brief period of issuing warnings to offending customers, the officers will be directed to start issuing fines
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,”
Hamilton’s biggest arena transforms into a homeless shelter
The conversion of the FirstOntario Centre Saturday included adding 50 carefully separated beds in the concourse of the hockey arena, dining tables on the de-iced rink surface and a medical clinic in the media lounge. Even the giant scoreboard that looms over the 17,383-seat area will be repurposed to show movies for residents who want to stay through the day
Supporting Toronto’s Queen Street West local businesses through purchase of “goody bags”
Locals for Local TO is an initiatives to support Toronto’s West Queen West neighbourhood. People can buy “goody bags” for between $80 to $100 (plus delivery). Goody bags include items from local shops like fresh veggies, cookies, coffee and more, and are available for delivery or pick up. A portion of proceeds will go to food banks.
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.
Manitoba First Nation enforcing community-wide curfew
Beginning April 6 and ending on April 20, there will be a curfew in Opaskwayak Cree Nation (OCN) from 10 p.m. to 6 a.m. It’s possible this curfew will be extended depending on whether COVID-19 cases in Manitoba and throughout the north continue to rise.
Online collaborative tool helps communities and city planners to improve public spaces
In the era of COVID-19, this tool allows one to play with how streets are designed to allow for social distancing. Can be a way to experiment online with low cost initiatives.
Twitter thread by Toronto Councillor updating residents on provision of shelter for those experiencing homelessness
Includes information on hotels, motels, buildings acquired, shelters, overnight programs and funding to community partners to provide services
Business owners find creative ways to keep operations going despite storefront shutdowns
Some of the adaptations include live streaming of fitness classes, online health consultations, preordered restaurant meals and home delivery of everything from beer to books. For many entrepreneurs, the changes aren’t just about business survival, but also keeping themselves and their employees busy and motivated during the coronavirus crisis.
Complaints pour into COVID-19 tip line
In just five days, Londoners have lodged 1,250 complaints about people and businesses not following provincial COVID-19 orders. About 70 per cent of complaints filed have been through email, the remainder by telephone.Rather than issuing fines, those phone calls have focussed on educating those who may not be following provincial rules.
Waived transit fares in Timmins inadvertently leads to surge in ridership
“Despite a notable drop in overall ridership, we have experienced a recent surge in transit use by non-regular passengers which is likely a reflection of our current free fare structure and a lack of things to do and places to go given the closure of various community facilities and programs,” said Mark Jensen, the city’s director of community and development services.