Daniel Rotsztain, a Toronto-based writer and artist, made a social distance machine to show that sidewalks are too narrow to keep a safe distance.

Advocating for S P A C E

While we’ve had to delay our education for safer walking and biking out in communities, we’ve been busy looking for silver linings of social distancing. One is that there are more people walking and biking during this time of less traffic.

In our new normal, more families, children and elderly are walking and biking as a way to stay active while also practicing social distancing. But with more people out, sidewalks and paths and trails are filling up. We need more open space where people can practice social distancing while getting the outside time and exercise necessary for mental and emotional well-being during this pandemic.

We have an opportunity to provide more room for people to safely walk and bike AND stay safe if we simply use some of that public space we typically assign to cars for this use.

What few of us realize is that our streets make up on average about 80% of our public space in towns and cities. SO why not use some of this public space for walking and biking while our car travel is down significantly?

Street Tweaks

Towns and cities across the country are recognizing they can address this need by temporarily repurposing street. In some places street closures make sense, allowing only local and deliveries. On roads with more than two lanes, even closing just one lane leaves plenty for the car travel that exists.

Here’s a comprehensive list of cities that have made changes. Let’s get some Idaho cities added to the list!

We encourage you to contact your city and/or other road agencies to ask them to provide more space to walk, safely and comfortably in the road.

Have you noticed a corridor in your neighborhood that is underserved by bike and pedestrian services? Reach out to your city and/or road agency and let them know.

Live in Ada County?

Here’s how to submit comments:

The easiest way to submit comments is on ACHD’s Send Us a Message page.  You can find talking points below to help with your message.

You can reach your Commissioner directly via email. Here is a link to a map of ACHD districts, along with a list of commissioners. We recommend emailing each commissioner, or at the very least, the commissioner in your home district. Here are their emails:

Jim Hanson, jhanson@achdidaho.org
Rebecca Arnold, rarnold@achdidaho.org
Mary May, mmay@achdidaho.org
Kent Goldthorpe, kgoldthorpe@achdidaho.org
Sara Baker, sbaker@achdidaho.org 

You can also tune in to ACHD’s weekly commissioner meetings on Wednesdays, starting at 11:45 AM. There is time reserved for public comments at the end of every meeting.

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