AUSTIN, Texas — The first batch of coronavirus pandemic-inspired "Healthy Streets" have opened in Austin.
On May 7, the Austin City Council approved a resolution to create a slow streets initiative titled "Healthy Streets," which will temporarily create safer spaces for people to walk, bike and travel in wheelchairs while still maintaining social distancing.
On May 21, staff with the Austin Transportation Department started closing three different street segments in order to limit vehicle traffic, according to a press release from the City. This will allow people living near the streets to "more comfortably walk, wheelchair roll, run and bike with enough space to maintain physical distance," the City said.
Residents, delivery drivers and emergency vehicles will still be able to access these road segments, according to the City.
These are the streets crews are temporarily changing starting Thursday:
- Bouldin Avenue, South Third Street, Garden Villa Lane between Banister Lane and Barton Springs Road
- Comal Street between Manor Road and Lady Bird Lake
- Country Club Creek Trail extension (Trail, Wickersham Lane, Ventura Drive, Madera Drive) between Mabel Davis Park and Lakeshore Drive
“Users of these roadways, whether on foot or behind the wheel, are reminded to be cautious and watch out for each other as the changes will result in greater interactions,” said Rob Spillar, Austin Transportation director, in a written statement.
Those who want to take part in the "Healthy Streets" are prohibited from "gathering, barbecuing or playing games that involve physical contact of any kind," the press release said. People using the streets must stay at least six feet apart from others and wear a face mask.
“It’s been great seeing the public support on social media,” said Councilmember Paige Ellis, the author of the Healthy Streets resolution. “I love seeing people of all ages and abilities using this public space in their neighborhood for exercise and play. I can’t wait to see this initiative expand to other streets around the city, and I’m thankful to Walk Austin and the other community partners who organized the petition.”
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