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NACTO COVID-19 TRANSPORTATION RESPONSE CENTER
-> NACTO launched an online COVID-19 transportation resource hub for city transportation staff, officials, and leaders for cities to learn from one another and develop the most effective responses to this evolving global crisis. (COVID-19 Transportation Response Center: https://bit.ly/3bGtNH9) It provides actionable examples of how cities around the world are addressing critical tasks, such as:
- Helping healthcare and other essential workers get safely where they need to go while protecting transit operators and other frontline city staff
- Creating pick-up/delivery zones to ensure that residents can access food and essential goods
- Opening, and in some cases, closing, public space to enhance social distancing
- Deploying effective public communications, messaging, and signage
NACTO asks that you respond to a survey to tell them what resources would be most helpful for you and prioritize their work: https://bit.ly/3bHW0NX.
NACTO EMERGENCY RESPONSE STRATEGIES & CITY TRANSPORTATION ACTION UPDATES
-> NACTO also released an evolving toolkit of 22 emergency response strategies designed to protect road users and keep the world moving during our national emergency (Rapid Response: Tools for Cities: https://bit.ly/2UL5KQs) and a spreadsheet updated daily of direct actions taken by cities and transit agencies globally (City Transportation Action Updates: https://bit.ly/3bGtNH9).
WAYS TO REBALANCE STREETS FOR PEOPLE DURING COVID-19 CRISIS
-> Toole Design reported that in the transportation sector, there are 5 emerging steps cities can take quickly, and with minimal cost to help people adapt to social distancing requirements:
- Implement bikeways quickly
- Reduce risk by reducing vehicle speeds and volume
- Find ways to allow for socially distant outdoor time
- Eliminate pedestrian crossing buttons
- Use curbside management to facilitate pick-up and drop-off.
[See Webinar section for the April 2 "Rebalancing Streets for People" webinar on this topic.]
DRIVERS SPEED ON EMPTY ROADS, TACTICAL URBANISM CAN SLOW THEM
-> Streetsblog USA reported as roads empty out in the wake of COVID-19, the drivers who remain are speeding up -- and advocates argue that if we want to prevent a second pandemic (featuring dead pedestrians), we need to do everything we can to slow drivers down. New York City's speed cameras have been issuing about the same number of tickets since the COVID-19 crisis began, despite a 51% plunge in cars on the road. Cars slow down other cars, especially when there are enough of them to form a traffic jam. With congestion virtually non-existent across North America, advocates are urging their leaders to take action and find better ways to slow down drivers, ideally in the ways we should have been doing it all along: by implementing human-centered road design. The answer is simple, cheap, and yes, socially distant -- and it's rooted in the gloriously creative world of tactical urbanism. https://bit.ly/3dKrnJz
COVID-19 RESPONSE: CAR TRAFFIC PLUMMETED 30%
-> Streetsblog USA reported US car traffic dropped a shocking 30% at the end of last week compared to the same day of the week as the month prior, according to traffic data firm INRIX. But what might be even more shocking is that traffic didn't crater even further. By Friday, March 20, major cities across America were under strict lockdown orders -- but many other towns, especially in smaller communities, were not. Advocates believe that when a city shows a less-aggressive drop in vehicle miles traveled, that's a clear sign that the local government needs to take more aggressive steps to keep non-essential travel to a minimum. See the article for a broader look at how the largest states and cities traffic patterns have looked since March 1, both before and after their respective state and local governments began to respond to the outbreak. https://bit.ly/3bINuyk
VANCOUVER, CANADA CONSIDERS STREET CLOSURE TO MAKE MORE SPACE FOR PEDS
-> The Price Tags blog reported the standard for new sidewalks in Vancouver, Canada varies from 1.2 meters (3.9 feet) wide to 1.8 meters (5.9 feet) wide, and does not offer enough space for two people to pass each other safely with the Covid-19 required distance. Both Toronto and Vancouver are examining ways to make some parts of the street network closed to motor vehicles to allow pedestrians to spill out into some streets for recreation and to maintain the required physical distancing. The thinking behind walking on connected streets has already been done in Vancouver where 25 years ago the Urban Landscape Taskforce created the ambitious Greenways Plan. The original intent was to have a city greenway go through each neighborhood and be a 25-minute walk or a 10-minute bike ride from every residence. These streets lend themselves well to closure for all but local traffic and emergency vehicles. https://bit.ly/2UR4zz7
[See the Regional and Local Actions sections for related street closure news in the US.]
[See Webinar section for the April 2 "Closing Streets to Create Space for Walking and Biking During COVID-19"webinar.]
TRAIL USE UP NEARLY 200% SINCE COVID-19, TRAIL MANAGERS SCRAMBLE
-> The Rails-to-Trails Conservancy reported finding dramatic increases in trail visitation across the US. Their analysis of 31 trail counters for the week of March 16-22 found a nationwide trail usage increase of nearly 200% from that same week in 2019. This surge in trail use is forcing trail managers to take fast action to help mitigate the spread of COVID-19 among their constituents, while encouraging careful and conscientious trail use. To ensure that people are adhering to social distancing and being safe outdoors, some trails and parks are closing, while others are limiting their services. Some are limiting motorized access to entrances and trailheads to minimize crowds. Others are pushing significant public education efforts encouraging people to "keep your park open" by maintaining a safe social distance. https://bit.ly/39zGUIE
LONDON, UK HEALTH WORKERS GET FREE E-BIKE LOANS
-> The Verge reported key National Health Service workers in London, UK are being offered a three-month e-bike loan to help them commute to work while social distancing. There are currently 20 loaner e-bikes available, with more coming soon. A London-based e-bike retailer is distributing the e-bikes, locks and helmets. Not only will free e-bikes reduce commuting costs for essential workers, but it will also help them avoid having to travel in close proximity to others on public transit. Transport for London is currently running a basic service meant only for key workers such as NHS staff, but the reduction in trains has meant bigger crowds on services that are still running, making it a challenge to practice safe social distancing guidelines. An e-bike is a great alternative. https://bit.ly/3dNDeX9
PARIS, FRANCE LOW-EMISSION ZONE IMPACTS & IMPLICATIONS
-> The Real Urban Emissions (TRUE) Initiative released a paper that focuses on the low-emission zone (LEZ) in Paris, France, and evaluates the potential emissions benefit of the LEZ through 2030, focusing on nitrogen dioxide emissions from passenger cars. (Impacts of the Paris Low-Emission Zone and Implications for Other Cities: https://bit.ly/3bHNI8C) It also considers the potential implementation of tightened restrictions and timing of the LEZ. Road transport exhaust emissions have been linked to approximately 39,000 premature deaths in the European Union annually in 2015. Transport exhaust emissions were associated with a mortality rate of 11 citizens per 100,000 population in Paris. An estimated 71% of this transportation health burden is attributed to on-road diesel vehicles.
PARIS, FRANCE MAYORAL CANDIDATES PRESENTED CYCLING PROPOSALS
-> The European Cyclists' Federation reported Parisian cycling advocacy group, Paris en Selle, is changing the conversation about the role of bicycles in 21st century cities. All six Paris mayoral candidates attended their Grand Oral Velo event and debated, discussed, and presented their priorities and plans for the future of cycling in Paris.?(The first round of elections were held March 15, but the next round was postponed due to the COVID-19 pandemic.)
Some candidates, while presenting their cycling infrastructure proposals, seemed to genuinely commit to changing the cycling culture of Paris. Their vision is of a Paris that more closely resembles cities like Copenhagen and Amsterdam. The current mayor Anne Hildago highlighted her "Plan Vélo" which follows the lines of the plan put forth by Paris en Selle themselves. Her policy plan completely adopts and implements the Ve?lopolitain network within the next four years (2020-2024). Additionally, she committed to making 100% of Parisian streets bikeable by 2024, in time for the summer Olympic games. Mayor Hildago envisions a city where citizens can get anywhere by bicycle in 15 minutes. https://bit.ly/341Lqi1
SYDNEY, AUSTRALIA COVID-19 PROMPTS AUTO PED CROSSING SIGNALS
-> The Price Tags blog reported the City of Sydney, Australia is finally getting automated pedestrian crossing in their major downtown intersections, because of the COVID-19 crisis. The State has done this because pedestrian push buttons are petri dishes for Covid-19 virus potential. Hopefully the 24-hour automatic signal intervals for pedestrian crossings will remain a permanent installation. https://bit.ly/2WWDywV
COUNTING SCOOTERS ON THE ROAD
-> Smart Cities Dive reported the number of scooters on the road is a complex question as dockless fleets are more dynamic than their docked predecessors. Recharging batteries, damage repair and vehicle relocation require a team that's constantly monitoring and maintaining a fleet to meet demand. This means that the number of vehicles in the public right-of-way (PROW) is continuously fluctuating. Cities and operators, including Bird, are becoming increasingly familiar with Mobility Data Specification (MDS), a standard adopted by many markets to better understand and manage micromobility fleets. For instance, every time a scooter's status changes, whether it's "available," "reserved" by a rider, "unavailable" waiting for retrieval or "removed" for repairs, that action is recorded and provided to cities and agencies. https://bit.ly/39AR23W
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