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Austin City Council approves resolution to create 'slow streets' initiative after groups push for it

Walk Austin is asking either City staff or the public to recommend which streets to use.

AUSTIN, Texas — The Austin City Council approved a resolution on May 7 to create a slow streets initiative titled "Healthy Streets."

According to the City, the initiative will temporarily create safer spaces for people to walk, bike and travel in wheelchairs while still maintaining social distancing.

Council Member Paige Ellis said this initiative will help provide Austinites safer places to get out and exercise.

"By limiting car traffic on selected neighborhood streets, we can increase the availability of places to walk and get outdoors while still maintaining the social distancing necessary to fight the spread of COVID-19. We look forward to hearing the community’s ideas for where they would like to see Healthy Streets.”

The draft of the resolution can be found here.

This resolution follows calls from community groups to create more areas to safely exercise while maintaining social distancing.

Groups like Walk Austin want to start a program called "Slow Streets." It would identify low-traffic streets that could be used for safe exercises like walking or jogging and help reduce crowds at busy parks and trails.

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Walk Austin asked either City staff or the public to recommend which streets to use.

"Because now we're under a greater strain, all of us, because of this pandemic, we need to leverage our public assets more effectively than in the past," said Adam Greenfield with Walk Austin.

The group is modeling the program after one in Oakland, California.

WATCH: Austin senior citizens walking for a purpose

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