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Cycling and rolling lane and sidewalk  with physical distancing sign
Information and guidance for municipalities on safe operations during the pandemic

Photo: Blair Smith, Urban Systems

The COVID-19 pandemic has meant more people are walking and cycling. The BCCDC recommends re-balancing streets in B.C. municipalities to support this change. If we repurpose public spaces now, we can sustain this strategy and have long-lasting population health impacts on walking and cycling.

  • Space for appropriate physical distancing
  • Prevention of injuries through separation of active road users from motor vehicles 
  • Increased physical activity and positive mental well-being
  • Contribute to the economic viability of local businesses
  • Reduced social isolation and increased community connectedness
  • Improved air quality by reducing emissions from motor vehicles.

COVID-19 Street Rebalancing Guide

The COVID-19 Street Rebelancing Guide from the Federation of Canadian Municipalities:
  • helps communities respond amid continuing COVID-19 transmission;
  • ensures safe public mobility as towns and cities re-open;
  • is intended for both decision-makers and practitioners;
  • demonstrates how to temporarily redesign streets to ensure physical health, mental health, safety and well-being; and
  • includes a toolkit of immediate and longer-term response strategies and treatments.

Reallocation of Roadway Space for Physical Distancing

The Reallocation of Roadway Space for Physical Distancing guidelines from the B.C. Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure help local governments design temporary treatments for active transportation opportunities.
  • Address gaps in the active transportation network, including sidewalks, bicycle routes and off-street pathways.
  • Make sure people feel safe.
    • Scientific literature suggests safety as a motivator (or deterrent) for active transportation.
    • COVID-19 safety is a new dimension to consider when designing or adapting spaces. Consider safety in active transportation, recreation, and queuing.
  • Address equity and vulnerable communities, including racialized populations, people living with low income, and those without vehicle access.
  • Promote universal accessibility for older populations, children, and people with reduced mobility.
  • Increase sidewalk widths beyond usual recommendations.
    • Accommodate increased active mobility traffic.
    • Spacing required for physical distancing
    • Access to essential services, spaces, and transit.
  • Create a welcoming and inviting space.
    • Use unique elements of local characteristics and history to strengthen community identity.
    • This can improve positive social interactions. It also helps build a special sense of place and shared culture for all users.
  • For more information, see the COVID-19 Street Rebalancing Guide.

SOURCE: Municipalities ( )
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