LOS ANGELES - Social-distancing on sidewalks can be difficult, especially when juggling a stroller, couple of dogs and a cup of coffee. To help combat the problem, the city of LA has kicked off a new program this weekend called “Slow Streets.”
The initiative opens the roads in some neighborhoods for residents to run, walk their dog and bike ride, so they can keep a six-foot distance from their neighbors, without fighting them for sidewalk space.
“It’s awkward with the mask and you have to make eye contact, you have to figure out who’s going to move and with him, people normally move around us because he’s so crazy,” says Del Rey resident Sarah Cannon as her three-year-old son Emerson takes off on a bicycle down the middle of Allin Street with his dad.
“Now I’m going to go that way!” Emerson exclaims with excitement.
Del Rey and Sawtelle are the first to join the program. More than a dozen other communities in LA have already applied to join.
The roads are still open for local traffic only to enable residents to get to their driveways, so it’s important to still watch out for cars…
The city is not allowing barbequing, contact games or sports, or group gatherings of any kind. The point of the program is to create more space for people to exercise safely during this COVID-19 crisis.
“It’s also about equity,” says LA Mayor Eric Garcetti. “Not everyone lives right next to park with hills. Not everyone is close to beach. We should make sure hard-hit communities and those that are inland or flatter areas have the same exercise capacity as other places as well.”
“We can actually just wave to our neighbors and enjoy the fact that we’re in a little bit of normalcy in this very abnormal time,” says Cannon.
LA plans to expand the “Slow Streets” program. If you would like to nominate your neighborhood, you can go to Coronavirus.LACity.org/SlowStreets