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we’re all in this together

we’re all in this together

 As of Governor Baker’s Friday morning update (March 27, 2020), Massachusetts officials say to stay home, stop the spread. MassDPH’s public health advisory says to “only leave your home to address essential needs, get some fresh air and exercise, and if you do, avoid unnecessary contact with other individuals.”  It is still permissible to walk, bike, roll, or run outside as long as we maintain 6 feet of physical distance between us. However, in many areas, sidewalks are not wide enough to accommodate this recommendation.

With more people out walking, biking, rolling and running than ever before, help us call on Massachusetts city and town leaders to make these activities safer.

Here are a few ways your local officials can help: 

  • Make a public announcement to residents that every street is considered a shared street. Expect to see people walking, biking, rolling, or running in the street as they maintain 6 feet of physical distance on narrow sidewalks. If you are driving, be prepared to yield to people walking and biking and DRIVE SLOWLY. 
  • Automate walk signals so pedestrians do not have to push buttons. It is one less surface to touch and potentially contract/spread disease. Brookline and Cambridge have already started this effort, and other communities should follow.
  • If a park or pathway is overcrowded, try to allow people to spread out. Vehicle use is down, which has revealed the vast amounts of pavement dedicated to cars. Streets are public space and these valuable resources can serve as a way to keep people sane and healthy through walking, biking, rolling, and running with appropriate social distancing. Learn techniques on a free webinar from Toole Design on April 2nd at 2pm titled “Rebalancing Streets for People.”

Here are ways you can help if you do leave your home:

  • Stop running or walking in groups, and pass others with care. If people do not practice social distancing, it is possible that stricter limits will be enforced on outdoor activities. Keep your neighbors safe, and don’t ruin it for everyone.  
  • Remember that safe streets save lives as well. It is especially important at this time to reduce the number of injuries from traffic crashes in order to lessen the burden on our emergency medical services. Anecdotally in Massachusetts, many people that are out driving on wide open roads are driving faster and recklessly, putting pedestrians in danger. In New York, data from automated speed enforcement cameras confirm this assertion. Streetsblog NYC found that the enforcement cameras issued more speeding tickets for several days in March compared to the same day of the month in January, despite many fewer drivers on the roads.

Thank you to all people working on the front lines to contain this virus and treat those who are suffering its ill effects. Our goal is to support our public health, medical and elected officials in their efforts to protect community health. Our ask is for more space so that people can walk, bike, run and roll responsibly during this challenging time. We’re all in this together. Be well.

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