COVID-19

Victoria Proposes Closing Streets to Offer More Social Distancing

Sidewalks proving far too narrow to maintain two meters' distance from fellow pedestrians

By Sean Craig
April 16, 2020
COVID-19

Victoria Proposes Closing Streets to Offer More Social Distancing

Sidewalks proving far too narrow to maintain two meters' distance from fellow pedestrians

By Sean Craig
Apr 16, 2020
Johnson Street empty at midday on account of COVID-19 lockdowns (James MacDonald for The Capital)
COVID-19

Victoria Proposes Closing Streets to Offer More Social Distancing

Sidewalks proving far too narrow to maintain two meters' distance from fellow pedestrians

By Sean Craig
April 16, 2020
Victoria Proposes Closing Streets to Offer More Social Distancing
Johnson Street empty at midday on account of COVID-19 lockdowns (James MacDonald for The Capital)

Victoria residents may soon have designated places to stretch their legs or go for a walk outside during ongoing COVID-19 quarantine orders, with the first site rolling out as early as next week.

Philip Bellefontaine, the city’s transportation manager, said Thursday that municipal staff have identified five locations they believe are “strong candidates” for allowing people to get exercise or have free time outdoors.

“We are actively planning on one of those now, within the James Bay neighbourhood on Simcoe Street,” he told city council members at a meeting of the committee of the whole. “We are anticipating implementing measures within the next week or two at that location.”

Bellefontaine said the city will use the initial site in part as a learning exercise, which will allow staff to determine whether they can move forward with opening up the other locations. He did not identify where the other four sites are.

Councillor Jeremy Loveday said parking spaces and roadways will potentially be freed up at the sites, allowing more room for pedestrians on foot, and those using active transportation like bikes and skateboards, to keep distance from one another.

“I very much look forward to seeing this roll out,” he added. “I think this is something that will have a positive impact for many of our residents who are wanting to get out of their houses and maintain the physical distancing that has been called for by the health authorities.”

By allowing people to visit outdoor public spaces where social distancing can be monitored and rules easily enforced, the sites could alleviate the potential problem of antsy residents looking to get outside in the warm months of the year.

Police across Canada have already issued dozens of tickets and made a handful of arrests in cases where people have gone outside in violation of quarantine and social-distancing orders.

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